Here’s Lesson Numero Uno from Social Media Marketing 101: Followers might not always tell you when they’re happy, but expect your Facebook page and Twitter account to light up like a Christmas tree when they’re unhappy. East coast grocery store chain Wegmans is the latest brand to experience this lesson in real life — and at the center of the brouhaha is actor Alec Baldwin.
Back in December, 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin raised more than a couple of eyebrows after refusing to shut off his smartphone aboard an American Airlines flight. Señor Baldwin was in the middle of a Words with Friends game and told flight attendants that he simply wasn’t going to turn his device off. The flight crew booted Baldwin off and “planegate” was born.
Days after the event, Wegmans quietly pulled its holiday ads featuring Baldwin and his mother, a vocal Wegmans devotee and shopper. Wegmans would later say the spots were yanked because a “couple dozen” of people complained about them, but that was nothing compared to the couple hundred of folks who angrily wanted Baldwin back on the air. Facebook petitions as well as postings on Wegmans’ wall were quickly set into motion to get the final commercials aired. Imagine! People actually wanting to see a commercial? And with Alec Baldwin, who can already be seen in a quartet of omnipresent ads for Captial One?
Nevertheless, Wegmans listened and last week announced they would be airing the commercials in the response to the “numerous” complaints they had received. The family-owned chain worked quickly to make the whole mess disappear and released a statement saying, “Clearly, many more people support Alec, as evidenced by the hundreds and hundreds of tweets, emails and phone calls we have received. We enjoyed working with Alec Baldwin and his mom, Carol, and would do it again. We appreciate all the kind things they have said about Wegmans and respect the good work they do for communities.”
All’s well that ends well, and it seems neither Baldwin nor Wegmans is the worse for wear. But our question is this, dear readers: When do you respond to a social media backlash and when do you stick to your guns? Sound off below!