Ralph Lauren and Preventing Blog Firestorms
Recently, Ad Rant published a rave, satirical review of a Ralph Lauren ad. The ad features a model that is impossibly skinny. At first, you might think this is a Dove PSA ad–commenting on the unrealistic expectations fashion brands place on impressionistic female teens–but no, Ralph Lauren is seriously trying to pawn the image as real.
To further exacerbate the situation, Ralph Lauren began suing the ad critics— sending takedown notices to bloggers who published the ad.
Unfortunately for Ralph Lauren, they wanted to pick a fight with the blogging community. And, of course they lost. The fifth link of a Ralph Lauren Google search is titled, “Image of ultra-thin Ralph Lauren model sparks outrage on Shine.” Consequently, anyone searching for Ralph Lauren clothes will see the controversy surrounding the brand.
The Ralph Lauren mishap illustrates the power of social influencers on the web. Picking a fight with bloggers connected to hundreds of thousands of people is dangerous. If you consider the audience of the worlds top bloggers and those of brands like Ralph Lauren–bloggers will win every time.
The old way of thinking is to ignore or fight against your critics. In the digital age, however, the tables have turned. There is a level of transparency that was never possible in a pre-digital world (e.g. the takedown notices were published on numerous blogs). To save face, it’s crucial to listen to your audience and work with influencers to rectify any problems before the flare up into a blogosphere firestorm.