Reputation Management: Pawngo and Butterfinger


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A brief case study showcasing how a PR stunt can go viral in a bad way via social media and how corporate reputations were impacted positively and negatively.

Published in: Business, Technology
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Reputation Management: Pawngo and Butterfinger

  1. 1. It’s the week after the Super Bowl and its fair to say that it is a tough week in New England
  2. 2. …. A very, very tough week……..
  3. 3. ………so a brand named Pawngo decided to drop a thousand Butterfingers in Copley Square,Boston in order to make an impression...
  4. 4. An impression they made; the fallout was widespread for Pawngo, Groupon and Butterfinger
  5. 5. Clearly – things were out of control, with brands managing a damage limitation strategy againstthousands of angry fans who are looking for a target for their anger.
  6. 6. …. So Pawngo’s CEO posted an apology, loosely disguised as a sales pitch – this did not help…
  7. 7. So now fans and commenters are offended – its become a movement
  8. 8. Pawngo trending as a topic on social channels Little to no brand chatter before #butterfingergate Brand mentions fade Neutral sentiment skyrockets So does negative sentimentThe key here is impact – there is no long tail on the campaign – just immediate negativesentiment
  9. 9. Butterfinger responded with a full page in the Boston Globe and won over the nets.#Butterfingergate trends and positive sentiment for their brand increases also
  10. 10. Badly judged concept that hit the wrong market at the wrong timeReaction was too slow, and social engagement was poorly managedUnderestimation of sentiment allowed the brand to react with a half apology/ half salespitch, which exacerbated the issueOther brands were dragged in and each reacted in their own way (if slowly), but neitherwere able to disassociate themselves by reacting quickly enoughThis PR nightmare was not taken seriously enough from the start and Pawngoattempted to turn the challenge into a sales pitch – wrong time and badly doneWithout awareness, speed of response is hampered. Without a plan, the response wasmessy. Without reputation management, the three brands all had cost without upside
  11. 11. Recon Deploy Rescue
  12. 12. 
  13. 13.  – – – – – – – –