TidyCats latest ad campaign spans online and offline to get consumers sharing about what stinks in their lives. But one of their ads created its own stink. To the brands' credit, they were listening and responded in less than 24 hours to stop a possible catfight with consumers.
Billboards localize the campaign by referencing what stinks in each market. I'm imagining traffic in Los Angeles, rain in Seattle and there are plenty of opportunities for the NYC subway. These examples are all harmless, even humorous, locally relevant and make TidyCats' point that #lifestinks.
Don't Trash the the Nati
If you were cooking up the ads for each market, would you make a joke about a city's neighborhood? In this case, a Cincinnati neighborhood that Wikipedia will tell you:
- has a rich history
- serious art community
- the most Italianate architecture in the United States
- and has been compared to Greenwich Village, NYC; Savannah, Georgia; Charlseton, South Carolina and New Orleans French Quarter?
As a proud resident of Cincinnati, I'm one of more than a few locals that aren't happy about the billboard. Tony Blankemeyer tipped me off to this bad ad on Friday night. And while the ad clearly sucks, I'm pleased to note TidyCats is taking steps to rectify the situation. After more than a few comments across Facebook, Twitter and the TidyCats campaign site, the brand replied less than 19 hours after I first saw the billboard.
"We appreciate your comments, Kevin. Our billboard mentioning OTR was meant to be humorous. We understand that to many of you, it wasn't. We will be taking fast action to correct our error. Please accept our apologies. - TidyCats Team "
Listen, Learn and Build Loyal Fans
This is a reminder of the importance of social listening and having a response plan in place to engage with consumers and address any unforseen concerns. It doesn't matter if social media is part of a brand campaign. In this case, it was an offline billboard that drew well-deserved ire. Social media is simply where the complaints took place.
TidyCats showed they were listening and taking action against a campaign that was raising a serious stink with Cincinnatians. And in in doing so, they stand to create more friends than foes. Full Disclosure: I'm a dog person. But I'm a fan of TidyCats now based on how this misstep was handled -- and over a holiday weekend no less.
Consumers will still vent their frustrations. But by acting quickly, TidyCats avoided consumers getting organized and the resulting brand pile on that can take place. It makes it much tougher for a brand to change the tone of the conversation.