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Femfresh – a case in point of Social Media Planning

2012 June 27

Social media has enabled brands to create a presence online very quickly. Often time and consideration is put into the creative, whilst failing to plan for and anticipate where the 99% of your on-going time and engagement will be taking place.

Team Roost have been discussing how and where it went wrong with the Femfresh campaign. While most articles have pinned the issues on the use of language (Mini, Twinkle, Hoo Haa, Flower, Fancy, Yoni, Lady Garden….) and in so patronising their audience, we feel that a simple social misunderestimation is at the heart of this #PRFail.

Disclaimer – I don’t like the use of #PRFail – it is over used and poorly understood by social media evangelists, but in this instance it feels apt

Holistic advertising planning:

Should social communications be at the start and the end of the planning process? If you can reach out to your audience online why shouldn’t you use them to co-create a strategy at the start of the process whilst also gauging how your other ATL activity might be impacted?

Femfresh: Being creative and adding some fun into what is otherwise a fairly dry product is nothing new. But given the topic up for discussion, it would have been wise in this case to understand the impact that the campaign might have in advance, both positive and negative.

And while the ad campaign might not have caused a stir, it is the number one rule of any integrated campaign to understand that any disgruntled audience will come looking for you online to voice their opinions, and rule number two, that you must be prepared for this to happen.


Consider your community – invest in advocates:

Social media is straightforward in many aspects. Set the tone at the start and the majority will follow – fail at the start and you will be fighting an uphill battle.

Femfresh: The share of voice around the campaign seems to be predominantly negative, but there are some people out there who have voiced a positive opinion or are at least indifferent to the campaign tone and messaging.

One commenter on the Stylist Magazine website saw the campaign as attempting to play on the recent renown of humorous terms for genitals as popularised by the cast of The Only Way is Essex and their tendency to “vajazzle” their “noons”. However the way in which the campaign was positioned failed to take into account that most people do not call their own parts such ridiculous names and to suggest that they do is patronising and inappropriate. If they had chosen edgier and less youthful/ditzy terms and instead gone for a more sardonic approach they may have enjoyed greater success, as we will see later with a competitor brand.

Advocate outreach has many advantages (and certainly in this case it would need to be thoroughly considered), but what it does do is set a page’s tone.

The first comment/endorsement goes a long way to teeing up any future conversations, and also has the added impact of suppressing any unwanted conversations due to the esteem with which ambassadors can be regarded on Facebook pages with some careful positioning.

In other words, I am sure that Femfresh could have seeded the campaign in a manner whereby it was interpreted in the way in which I envisage it was originally meant, and not as an avoidance of the use of the word ‘vagina’.


Social media is an investment:

Malcolm Gladwell first talked about Tipping Points back in 2000 – the points he raises are only becoming more relevant. For all the KPI conversations around social media, it needs to be seen as an investment and one that has varying measures of success.

Femfresh: Email data capture is still seen as one of the main KPIs for digital marketing. It is unsurprising then that at no point would data capture fields be removed from a website. In the same way dialogue and engagement are key to a social media campaign (engagement per thousand), so why lock down a page to prevent this from taking place?

With all this free PR and 3rd party traffic driving activity would it not be wise to leverage the exposure and look to try and monetise the additional value? Does the old line of there is ‘no such thing as bad PR’ not ring true in social media?


Always invest time in a mitigation strategy:

Each and every campaign should be accompanied by a working mitigation document. This should be a living and breathing document that is added to, amended and evaluated on an on-going basis. After all, it could save your bacon….

Femfresh: And so we come full circle…mitigation documents should be tested on an audience. Through co-creation and audience feedback you can ascertain what the likely implications of a campaign might be. Ad agencies have been doing it for years for TV adverts, so why not apply it to social media campaigns?

It is so very un-‘social’ to simply implement a mitigation strategy that revolves around not engaging with your audience.


Case Study: Mother Nature

I want to end on a campaign case study that treads a similar path to Femfresh, but that has been infinitely more successful in the way in which it has addressed the subject matter and managed and monitored the online community. Proctor & Gamble’s (Tampax) Mother Nature campaign now has an audience of 287,226 Likes and with a more satirical strap line ‘Monthly Nature’s Monthly Gift’, it is clear that the brand have struck a more sophisticated and edgy tone, tapping into a genuine and more universal female sentiment”

Here are a few observations:

  • The brand has (mostly) been removed from all communication – fans are engaging in the persona concept and not with the brand product.
  • Mother Nature personifies the tongue in cheek nature of the campaign, playing on the idea of a not-so-welcome “gift” from a slightly barmy aunt who women have to “outwit” with Tampax each month. She removes any direct associations/connotations with the product.
  • Updates maintain the idea of a “monthly gift” – they have not deviated from the plan. The contact strategy has been defined – intrigue has been positioned as the hook and CTA.

Where do you think it all went wrong for Femfresh?


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