Be careful how you promote your brand on social media this holiday season.
If you’re careless, you might land in hot water like the British nail-file company that was slapped for its sexist marketing language aimed at “lady staff” members.
The incident sparked a social media firestorm in the U.K. and offers an important lesson for PR and marketing pros.
Last week, former U.K. “Apprentice” winner Tom Pellereau’s company Stylfile splashed this headline across its website, “This Christmas, show your appreciation to your lady staff with Stylfile.”
According to Brand Republic
, Stylfile removed the headline from its site, but British millionaire and celebrity—Lord Alan Sugar, host of the U.K.’s “Apprentice”—fanned the flames on Twitter when he tweeted:
The reaction on Twitter was swift and vicious. For instance:
One blogger deemed Sugar’s
tweet “incredibly patronizing,” noting that Stylfile offended half its potential customers (women) and alienated the other half (men) by suggesting only women groom their nails.
’s Nicola Kemp called for brands to end the sexist ads:
“I wondered whether I had been somehow transported back to the sexism of the 50s,” she wrote. “I may have now heard of Stylfile, but I can't be the only one who will go out of my way not to buy it.”
While you probably know better than to tweet sexist remarks to followers—Kemp suggests that Sugar’s tweet was little more than a lame PR stunt—you had better take caution this holiday season in your social media promotions. What might seem like an innocent tweet or Facebook update to you could be incredibly offensive to others.