Australian clothing company BlackMilk is feeling the heat this week.
It’s not from the sunny weather of the outback. It’s the backlash of a social media faux pas which has only gotten worse over the past few days.
The company posted the above picture to their Facebook page. The post generated thousands of ‘Likes’ but was also met with alienated customers asking the company to take the picture down. Many pointed out the picture goes against the brand’s beliefs, also posted on their Facebook page, urging customers not to make any negative comments about other women’s bodies and to be excellent to one another. After dozens of complaints on Facebook, and a growing campaign to boycott BlackMilk, the executives of the brand decided to speak up. And this is where things took a turn for the worst.
The company posted on their Facebook that they will not apologize for the offending post, and that those who were offended should ‘unlike’ their page and stop buying their products. They also began banning people from their page and deleting all comments they deemed “took a step too far.” This led to customers, some who have been purchasing the brand since BlackMilk was a little start-up working from home, to vow never to buy the products again. Some were calling out the company for banning them for simply liking posts. Some said they were banned without posting anything at all.
When an apology finally came from BlackMilk, it seemed to only add flames to the fire.
This is a simple case of what NOT to do when you’re a clothing brand, or any brand, that has a social media presence. Sure, the company did not mean to offend their followers/customers, but the actions they took afterwards were childish. Not to mention the resources and time spent of monitoring, deleting and responding to the “upset” Facebook messages should have been spent else where.
In this case, a simple ‘sorry’ and removal of the picture would have sufficed and the person who created the offending image could have posted it on their own timeline. Instead, the company is left with customers abandoning them. Their Facebook page has already declined by a several thousand ‘likes.’ Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
*UPDATE: The company has re-issued a second, formal apology.
Photos Courtesy: Buzzfeed