By: Kelsey Crowley

In April of 2015, Apple released the new set of emojis, which mainly included sets of racially diverse emojis for many of the existing ones that people have been long awaiting , among a number other new emojis. While many people were excited about all of the new emojis, Clorox…well, was not. In response to the 8.3.1 Apple update, Clorox sent out this tweet to express their feelings about the update:

Clorox's "Where's the bleach" tweet from nydailynews.com

Clorox’s “Where’s the bleach” tweet from nydailynews.com

Take the tweet how you will, but many of Clorox’s costumers were not overly thrilled with . They were not overly thrilled so much that Clorox received a heavy amount of backlash. For example, twitter user @DriNicole  tweeted “…You need to clean up your PR person. Put some bleach on your distasteful marketing ideas,” in addition to many other tweets that were not in Clorox’s favor. After receiving a numerous amount of negative responses, Clorox admitted to their faults by tweeting something in response:

Clorox's response to the "Where's the bleach" tweet backlash. Courtesy of btls.com

Clorox’s response to the “Where’s the bleach” tweet backlash. Courtesy of btls.com

In an article written by wnyc.org , an interview was conducted with Clorox’s CEO, Benno Dorer. Dorer said, in a nutshell, “the tweet was not meant to be racist, rather, to express disappointment that there was still no bleach bottle emoji.” In a nationalreview.com article , spokesperson Molly Steinkrauss said the company apologizes for any insensitivities and hurt feelings this tweet may have caused. She also said, in an interview with theguardian.com “that their intentions were to never offend anyone and it was ‘meant to be light-hearted, but it fell flat.’ “

What do all of these apologies from company spokespeople, the CEO, and their Twitter mean? It means that Clorox’s campaign for a bleach bottle emoji was short-lived and failed incredibly. And, on top of it, they admitted to messing up. They messed up so much that, observed by medium.com , Clorox’s engagement on social medium hit an all-time low for a decent period of time after the tweet was released in April. Medium.com mentions that Clorox’s twitter account only averaged 19.5 engagements per tweet, meaning for the entire year of 2015, they did not increase their social media presence one bit.

Overall, it doesn’t matter what Clorox did or did not mean when they sent out that tweet. The fact of the matter is that their PR and marketing team didn’t consider all the possibilities of what their Tweet could mean in the context of it being posted. Clorox needed to remember that they were sending out a message through text in a tweet; a medium that does not express emotion or anything else.  If they truly wanted to campaign just for a bleach bottle emoji, the tweet could have been worded completely differently to ensure their message got across. Perhaps, simply adding “Where’s the bleach bottle?” could have done the trick.

The lesson to be learned by Clorox’s Social Media Campaign Fail is that always remember to check yourself, before you wreck yourself. You may be thinking one thing when you go to tweet it, but the world could see it in a completely different way.

References:

 

Foxnews. (2015, April 10). Clorox sparks controversy with tweet about ‘bleach’ emoji. Fox News. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/04/10/clorox-sparks-controversy-wtih-tweet-about-bleach-emoji.html

N.a. (2015, April 11). Clorox in hot water over ‘bleach’ tweet as emojis become more racially diverse. Theguardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/11/clorox-in-hot-water-over-bleach-tweet-as-emojis-become-more-racially-diverse

N.a. [ULTRAVIVDSCENE]. (2015, April 8). racially diverse emoji characters are officially on iOS 8.3, i am in tears of joy, finally ppl are listening. [Tweet]. Retrieved from  https://twitter.com/ULTRAVlVIDSCENE/status/585894899385503744

Npr. (2015, July 14). Clorox ceo goes beyond bleach. WYNC. Retrieved from http://www.wnyc.org/story/clorox-ceo-goes-beyond-bleach/

National Review: Timpf, K. (2015, April 10). Clorox accused of racism for asking why there’s no bleach emoji. National Review. Retrieved from http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/416763/clorox-accused-racism-asking-why-theres-no-bleach-emoji-katherine-timpf

Maskeron, A. (2015, April 8). Cloroc explains emoji tweet that many thought was weirdly racist. Adweek. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/clorox-explains-emoji-tweet-many-thought-was-weirdly-racist-163969

Meyer, K. (2016, January). 2015: The year in social media disasters. Medium.com. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@crowdbabble/2015-the-year-in-social-media-disasters-9cf0d53b60aa#.ktkevrgek