Women’s hygiene brand Femfresh has suffered a backlash on its Facebook page as “fans” took umbrage with its euphemistic terms for the word vagina.
Femfresh refers to it in several different ways on Facebook calling it “your kitty, nooni, lala…and froo froo”.
As the brand latched on to the upcoming Isle of Wight Festival they recived a backlash of negative comments about their childish terms and also faced questions on the nature of their product.
One response with 22 likes said: ” I can’t go to any festivals! I’ll be too busy sitting at home crying about the embarrassing smell of my shame-shame.”
While another with 34 likes wrote: ” I dunno, which do you think would go best with the bacterial vaginosis I would get from washing my vulva with anything other than water?”
Fremfresh has only been on Facebook since May and its page has just over 5,300 fans and yet in just over a month they have faced every brands worst nightmare – the social Pr disaster.
So what can Femfresh do to pull this back? As it stands their page is useless and it might seem like their only option is to pull the plug.
24 hours after the trouble began Femfresh finally issued a statement. In this they support their actions by citing research that they have done claiming that women don’t like the word ‘vagina’ and the terms in question were devised by real women in their focus groups. Their response is fine from a traditional PR/advertsing point of view. However, social media is a different beast. When users follow a brand they want to feel that they are part of that brand. Telling 5,800 people that you know what they want better than they do is not going to help Femfresh’s cause in any way.
Instead they need to include their fans and critics in the decision of how this page can go forward. 5800 people haven’t liked this page just to criticise the brand. A large number of these will be genuine fans of the product and brand – they need to understand what these individuals want.
Femfresh should use a poll to find what terms people do prefer to use when talking about feminine hygiene and then use this data to influence their language and tone on the page.
The target audience for this product is image and health conscious women – but more importantly, intelligent women – so why not treat them that way. The next three months must focus on reflecting this and turning the page around from being patronising to being an informative place celebrating women. Other brand of a similar nature have done brilliantly with this. Take tampax for example, with over 300,000 fans who highlight high achieving women and use their content to create a positive female community.
In terms of addressing the negative comments about the product they should invite a number Facebook fans to trial the product and write reviews in a controlled environment. They need to be open and transparent about their product and help people learn about the benefits rather than creating a negativity around NOT using their product which has clearly caused offence.
It will be an uncertain few months for Femfresh’s social media activity but what they can certainly rely on is that there will soon be another social PR disaster around the corner which will take the heat off them and they can begin to rebuild their social media presence.
Photo credit Annie Mole