What happens when pop culture throws you under the bus?


Photo credit: NBC "This Is Us"

An acceptable time has passed to avoid spoilers on social media, right? So here’s the stunner: It was the Crock-Pot.


The millions of us addicted to NBC’s “This Is Us” finally learned last week that the fire that killed Jack originated in a 20-year-old Crock-Pot. But what made compelling TV created a major headache for Crock-Pot. While we were gasping in horror in our living rooms, Crock-Pot was gasping, too.


Even the most prescient crisis planner at Crock-Pot would not have anticipated this scenario: “Popular show on TV kills off Dad with faulty Crock-Pot, Twitter storm ensues.” But when millions of people start talking about your product, seize the opportunity –– which Crock-Pot did masterfully.


The company did the obligatory response with its corporate statement, but also quickly established a Twitter account just to handle the conversation about the “This is Us” episode. That move allowed Crock-Pot to address tweets without changing the conversation of its main social media and blog, where you’re more likely to find posts about Slow Cooker Cranberry and Rosemary Pork Loin.


And most importantly, the responses by Crock-Pot’s social media team were clever and on-point. Humor and a light touch, such as creating the hashtag #CrockPotIsInnocent, kept the responses appropriate. For example, here’s a Crock-Pot Facebook post from Jan. 25:


‘THIS IS US’ SPOILER ALERT. We’re still trying to mend our 💔 heart after watching ‘This Is Us’ on Tuesday night. America’s favorite dad and husband deserved a better exit and Crock-Pot® shares in your devastation. Don’t further add to this tragedy by throwing your Crock-Pot Slow Cooker away. It’s hard to pass something down from generation to generation if you throw it away (grandma won’t be too happy). Spending time with his family while enjoying comfort food from his Crock-Pot was one of his favorite things to do. Let’s all do our part and honor his legacy in the kitchen with Crock-Pot®.


XOXO,

Crock-Pot® Forever in Your Heart & Forever in Your Home


Every company should have a crisis plan that anticipates the likelihood of various problems that could harm the company’s business. Those plans also outline appropriate responses. But you can’t anticipate every negative scenario, so companies need to be nimble with breaking news.


Nicely done, Crock-Pot.


Cindy Miller is CEO of Cindy Miller Communications.

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