Is 'BIC For Her' Really A Social Media Debacle?
So everyone's got their panties in a twist over the BIC for Her pen situation. It's being called a social media disaster, a debacle and, yes, yet another example of a brand asleep at the social media steering wheel. These are all valid points. But, perhaps, not to the degree we inside the inner circles of marketing would like them to be.
Writing in Advertising Age today, B.L Ochman, who is one of the most astute, bright and wonderfully friendly people on the planet wrote, "Judging by their clueless lack of response, BIC richly deserves its place in the anals of online brand goofs."
Pointing out how many missteps the brand took in this situation, Ochman continued, "Despite the fact that the buzz has been growing for weeks, the brand did not have the foresight to secure @BicForHer on Twitter, where a spoof account has already been launched, nor did they buy the URL www.bicforher.com, which is available for $12.99. A Tumblr blog is chronicling the funniest reviews and blog posts. An ad for BIC for Her launched last week, and is fast picking up derisive comments on YouTube. And through it all, BIC is silent."
Ochman is correct in her assertion that the brand fell on its face here. She's right on all counts. But is it really as big a deal as it's been made out to be?
In a comment to her Advertising Age piece, I wrote, "I wonder what would happen if BIC did nothing at all. Now I'm all for 'joining the conversation' and dealing with controversy but we're talking abut an innocuous little pen here. I wonder if, in a week or so, after all the media has covered this to death , whether or not people will go on with their lives as if nothing happened. My bet is they will. My bet is also that in the greater sea of nationwide pen buyers, only a small percentage of people noticed this or, if they did, even care. Now I'm not arguing that a small but very vocal minority should be ignored. But in the greater scheme of things, is this really as big a deal as we'd like to make it?"
We love to chastise brands that trip over themselves. And social media has both exponentially magnified the likelihood a brand will, at some point, screw up and amplified the means through which the public can chastise the brand for doing so.
But is BIC really going to suffer any lasting pain over this? Are they going to see a drop in sales? Are women really that upset over a feminine-styled product when countless other products are feminized for women? Will BIC simply come out with BIC For Him and have the last laugh? Will this just turn out to be yet another case of "any publicity is good publicity?" What do you think?