I am not the type of guy that likes to bash a brand when they make mistakes. I am not looking for any special attention, an apology; and I certainly don’t want to be labeled as the “Monday Morning Quarterback” and post emails, DMs and all that other nonsense just to make point. No, in this case, this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn.
Yesterday, a tweet crossed my stream from someone taking some serious jabs at Nickelodeon – an iconic children’s brand that I have followed for a very long time (my girls have been watching Nick Jr for years from Yo Gabba Gabba, Dora The Explorer, SpongeBob to iCarly). Some of these shows are actually enjoyable to watch, even as an adult.
I did a search on Google and there wasn’t anything official out but I did find a few sources and was able to piece together what happened. You all remember Jason Biggs right? He was the dorky kid in the American Pie series. On Twitter, he posted a series of very graphic tweets directed at Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney’s wives. Also, according to screenshots obtained by Twitchy.com, the alleged messages in question suggest an extremely lewd sexual act involving Janna Ryan.
I went to his Twitter handle tonight and yeah, he’s pretty much a douche bag but hey … it’s a free country so I am good with him doing whatever he wants to do.
Here is where it gets a little crazy and how Nickelodeon is involved in this mess.
Biggs, who is voicing the character of Leo in the network’s new reboot of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” had his Twitter account actively promoted by the “TMNT” page on the site – a site that my girls (ages 10 & 7) often go to for some online gaming. That is a huge problem for me. Huge! I looked and couldn’t find anything. So, I tweeted at Nickelodeon:
As a dad of two little girls, not sure how I feel about what’s going on over at @nickelodeontv
— Michael Brito (@Britopian) September 4, 2012
And kudos to the Nick team for responding quickly. Not sure why they responded to me … but whatever, I’ll take what I can get.
— Nickelodeon (@NickelodeonTV) September 4, 2012
Turns out Nickelodeon officially responded to the controversy; and insisted that Briggs use ‘better judgment’ in public communications. Ok, so now you are asking how this is a case study on social business planning. I’ll be brief.
One element of social business is ensuring that you have proper controls in place so that you don’t make mistakes like this. While they responded quickly, admitted that they don’t necessarily endorse the actions by Briggs and handled it pretty well; it could have been all out prevented if the marketing or brand teams are consistently communicating with whoever is managing content across Nickelodeon’s owned media channels – whether it be an agency, intern or whoever. Spending a little time and coin in research may also help.
We have seen incident after incident after incident (Chrysler, Kenneth Cole, Ragu) where brands are exercising very little care and/or strategic planning in what they are posting in social media. Content is so much more than celebrity endorsements or getting an influencer to RT a promotion. Content changes behavior, in some cases it’s behavior that will benefit the brand/company and in other cases it can hurt the brand (fyi: conservative groups are asking Nickelodeon advertisers to boycott the station). Whether you agree with this or not, (and I don’t care where you stand politically so don’t tell me) you do not want your brand in the middle of this mess.
One way to prevent this madness is to operationalize your content marketing strategy – from content creation, to content approval and then to content distribution. Deploying a simple process workflow like below is all it takes. It’s not that difficult.