How to Navigate a Negative Viral Trend

How to Navigate a Negative Viral Trend

The phrases “TikTok Trend” can strike worry in lots of adults’ hearts. Some have led to Kia vehicles being hotwired, stolen and children being charged with grand theft auto. The milk crate problem led to many accidents. Another viral social media phenomenon, the Tide Pod problem poisoned many youngsters who ingested the mentioned pods.
It might be a massive downside when your model or group finally ends up on the incorrect facet of virality.
However, the newest pattern, that includes McDonald’s Grimace Shake, positioned the purple icon as a assassin. On June 12, the hamburger behemoth launched a novelty shake for Grimace’s birthday. However, two weeks later, TikTokers depicted the lovable mascot in a farce as a wrongdoer—his shake inflicting the “deaths” of many who ingested the shake.
As of June 28, Polygon says “#grimaceshake [generated] 689 million views.”
A blessing or a curse relying who you ask—nevertheless, McDonalds responded with a actually tongue-in-cheek submit.

So for this version of Top Tips, we requested communicators what to do in case your product is misused or misinterpreted, AND that goes viral? Here are our high solutions (in no specific order).
1. Stephanie Pryor, Founder at LANC Marketing:
“I feel it is dependent upon the misuse/misinterpretation. Eating Tide Pods or snorting cinnamon may truly be hazardous:
“Like most detergent merchandise, Tide Pods, a laundry detergent pod bought by Procter & Gamble (P&G) since 2012, might be lethal if ingested.”
“It’s additionally attainable for somebody to inhale cinnamon whereas choking or gagging on it, which might trigger irritation within the lungs, a thickening of lung tissue, and scarring. This can lead to pneumonia, a collapsed lung, and/or everlasting lung harm.”
McDonald’s response to the Grimace Shake pattern was minimal, and I feel that is smart (A) as a result of joking about their product killing folks *most likely* is not aligned with their messaging, and (B) in the event that they jumped in on it, that may take away among the authenticity and originality of the pattern itself.
Where McDonald’s is anxious, this misuse is a UGC goldmine. I’m 31 years outdated, and even my mates are speaking about this shake that in any other case would have barely registered.”
2. Adam Cormier, Director of Public Relations, Remitly:
“The problem for manufacturers speaking throughout a disaster is making each phrase rely. A verbose response can gas longer tales and create alternatives for additional scrutiny. Conversely, brief responses can look ambivalent or missing empathy.
The state of affairs and timing is all the pieces, as is the selection of medium with which to talk externally. These variables all want to be thought-about in a response calculus.
The takeaway right here for comms execs is to have a part of your playbook for issues which might be “regarding” so you aren’t flat-footed when a burgeoning pattern begins to affect the model.”
3. Miriam Schwartz, Senior Content Marketing Writer:
“These movies make me love Gen Z much more. They’re hilarious, innocent, and I undoubtedly discovered myself at a McD’s the opposite evening.
If you discover your model on this state of affairs:

Embrace the chaos if the impact is total optimistic and/or innocent. This sort of virality would price a fortune in advertising and marketing spend.

Don’t meddle. Nothing kills a cool, natural, zeitgeist-y second like a company intervention or different manufacturers leaping on a pattern.

Or…if a model decides to get entangled, make it humorous and elevate the unique creators. If you do not have anybody humorous on workers or company, do not attempt.

When one thing is being misused, like Tide Pods, and there is a risk of real hurt, I’d leap on this with somebody like Bill Nye who can do a nerdy video about what cleaning soap does to your esophagus, or a cross-promo with Taco Bell the place you may commerce Tide Pods in for a free taco or one thing (after which clear the sauce off your shirt together with your detergent!)”


My PR tip for McDonald’s? Sit again and rely all of your cash as legions of younger folks do my advertising and marketing give you the results you want.
— Ballark (@ballark) June 29, 2023

Nicole Schuman is senior editor for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal

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About the Author: Amanda