Brands who plan to co-opt iconic American images should probably make sure they cast those images in a positive light.
Swiffer learned that lesson the hard way when it injected Rosie the Riveter—who symbolized female empowerment in the workplace during World War II America—in an ad for its steam mops.
Feminists and logical humans everywhere took exception. From Yahoo
That's right. An icon of women's war-time strength and adaptability, back in the kitchen where she belongs.
Heather Bezchissa spotted the ad, snapped a picture, and posted it on Instagram and Twitter along with the caption: "We can do it! Because cleaning kitchens is a woman's work. #swiffer #sexist"
Consumers were not amused. ‘Swiffer tells women 'We can do it!' 'It' in this case being housework," tweeted the Women's Fund of New Hampshire. "We're super unimpressed."
To the Procter & Gamble brand’s credit, it has listened to the criticism and is working to remove the Rosie images from its ads. In a statement, Swiffer spokesperson Elizabeth Ming had this to say:
“We are aware of all the concerns and it is not our intention in any way to offend any group with the image. We are working as quickly as we possibly can to make changes in any place she is used.”
[RELATED: Hear how top companies adapted to the digital PR industry changes at this August event.
The brand is also doing a solid job of responding to the backlash posted on its Facebook page
, with actual human-sounding responses to those who express displeasure with the ads. It even went as far issuing a promoted tweet
as part of its response on Twitter: