The touching Honey Maid video, and what elected officials can learn from it

Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve written how to handle trolls and criticism on social media ADD LINKS.  We’ve shown a couple examples of how to handle it badly – now here’s a way to handle it right.

Less than a month ago, Honey Maid made a commercial that featured non-traditional families:

A variety of backlash kicked up against Honey Maid, with groups like One Million Moms saying, “Nabisco should be ashamed of themselves for their latest Honey Maid and Teddy Graham cracker commercial where they attempt to normalize sin.” Naturally, pro-Honey Maid comments were made as well – the video on YouTube currently has more than 7,000 likes and barely more than 500 dislikes.

Honey Maid, however, decided to double down on love, and responded to the trolls in the classiest way possible:

As I write this, the video has been watched more than 2.2 million times, liked more than 28,000 and disliked slightly more than 1,400.  The video has also been the subject of national press, enhancing its viral reach.

Here’s the thing…this would seem to go against my advice of “not feeding the trolls.”  Clearly, Honey Maid is going out of their way to anger those who objected to their display of non-traditional families.  That being said, they are doing so strategically by tapping into the emotions of those who agree with them.  The simple facts are that a majority of Americans now favor the legalization of gay marriage.  Gay marriage is currently legal in seventeen states and that number is only likely to rise as time goes on.  I’d also bet good money that Honey Maid’s desired demographic also favors gay marriage, and that their internal research indicates that they will gain money and customers off of this decision.

So, why was this a good business decision?  Because Honey Maid knew exactly what they were doing: they knew that making this commercial would go viral and be a net gain to their business.  I once posted a note to my Facebook site that I had written to those who were opposed to gay marriage.  The note refuted that position and explained my reasoning for favoring gay marriage – much to my surprise, the note went viral and was shared more than 200 times, while seen by over 10,000 people.  That was a perfect strategic alignment – gay marriage is absolutely something I favor, but it was also something that my constituents favor as well.  This example is very similar, but obviously on a much larger scale.  This fits in with Honey Maid’s business objectives – gaining more customers and more money, while promoting a more inclusive American family.

The conclusion?  There are ways to respond to trolls.  This is one of them.  In essence, Honey Maid used their haters as a springboard to better promotion and profits.  They couldn’t have done it better.

So, anything else to add?  Let us know in the comments.

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