This Is Us, an Emmy and Golden Globe nominated NBC drama series, caused a surprising crack in the Crock-Pot image during its latest episode.
Disclaimer: Some plot points may be spoiled. It’s still worth the read in my opinion.
This Is Us unfolds through a series of flashback sequences and past and present depictions of a family and characters that share the same birthday. Since the first season of the show aired, viewers noted the absence of the family’s patriarch, Jack Pearson (portrayed by Milo Ventimiglia) in present day scenes, supporting the theory that he dies early in the family’s story.
As a beloved character, Jack Pearson’s impending death inspired fan theories since Season One, and fans may have gotten their answer on the latest episode entitled, “That’ll Be the Day.” A neighbor’s faulty Crock-Pot short circuits and sets the Pearson house ablaze. Though the episode ends on a cliffhanger with no definitive death, fans were enraged by Jack Pearson’s supposed death by Crock-Pot. And as most loyal fans do, they took to Twitter to express their sentiments about the episode. Tweets mentioned throwing Crock-Pots out of windows, into the trash, and hating Crock-Pots more than anything in life.
Positive note: This Is Us possesses a truly dedicated and passionate fan base.
Negative note: Crock-Pot called in a crisis team to handle the product backlash.
In response, Crock-Pot, owned by parent company Newell Brands, created its first twitter account with the tag @CrockPotCares to combat attacks on their brand image. Thus we are gifted a perfect example of digital marketing as damage control. The Crock-Pot crisis team were the only ones willing to put a defense after the internet put Crock-Pot on trial for Jack Pearson’s death. The crisis team immediately tried to get the hashtag, #crockpotisinnocent to start trending. Not exactly catchy, but a clear message.
Personally, I picture a Crock-Pot as a wedding registry gift and would never expect the brand to have a social media presence. But that notion was for simple times, when beloved television characters died in non-specific ways, like in car crashes or from strains of obscure viruses. I’m sure brands are crossing their metaphorical fingers in hopes that entertainment industry will go revert to more generic modes of killing. If not, what’s next? Eleven from Stranger Things chokes to death on an Eggo waffle?
The lesson: digital marketing can be proactive and reactionary. We’ll see how Crock-Pot weathers the fire-storm. On the plus side, people may regret throwing their Crock-Pots out the window and need to buy new ones, so there may be a boost in sales once people stop associating their slow-cookers with death.
Walansky, Aly. “Crock-Pot Starts Its First-Ever Twitter Account.” TODAY.com, TODAY, 26 Jan. 2018, www.today.com/food/crock-pot-starts-first-ever-twitter-account-after-us-episode-t121763.