Two disclaimers to start.  I own a Crock-Pot™ slow cooker.  Or two.  I also am an unabashed lover of “This is Us”, the NBC Comedy/Drama that is pulling in 10 million viewers.

Fiction meets Reality

“This is Us” has been leading up to a classic television reveal–showing us (finally) the details surrounding the death of the family’s beloved father.  We knew that he died many years ago.  Then they revealed that it was a fire.  Then in the last episode, they show us a “Slow Cooker” brand appliance with a funny switch that turns itself on and catches fire as the family goes to bed.  (you can barely see the brand: Slow Cooker, at the top of this image):

To be fair, this thing isn’t even a Crock-Pot™, but their brand is so synonymous with slow cookers (congrats!) that fans of the show immediately took to twitter to announce that they’re either throwing out their Crock-Pot™ or angry with the brand for killing Jack.

No time to stew on a response

The Creator of “This is Us”, Dan Fogelman (@Dan_Fogelman) even got involved with a tweet:

What’s incredible is that prior to this dust up, Crock Pot did not have a social channel on twitter.  The @CrockPotCares twitter handle was created on Wednesday 24 Jan 2018, at 11:09 local time.  That means that they created the twitter handle within about 12 hours of the airing of Season 2 Episode 13 of “This is Us”–with the Slow Cooker reveal.

By 12:07PM–within an hour of creating the new account, the brand was answering questions on twitter.  Like this one:

The recipe for success

The format they followed:

  1. Empathize with the customer.  Appreciate their feelings.
  2. Answer the unspoken complaint.
  3. Offer additional information privately.

The response was swift, heartfelt, and a hit with twitter.  Then, the brand began seeking out influencers (like the show’s creator), and other verified users–offering up free Crock-Pots™ as a goodwill gesture. See this response to Carson Daly, who accidentally called it a Crock-Pot™ on air:

Bravo!

I think it’s clear from the timing of the creation of the twitter accounts that they weren’t prepared for the big reveal on the show.  But I also think it’s absolutely incredible to see a brand respond so quickly, and so amazingly on-point–with such short notice.  Especially for a brand that didn’t have a social media production established prior.

I contacted the brand, and have posted their statement in full:

“Crock-Pot understands the concerns brought up by last night’s episode of ‘This Is Us,’ and we too are heartbroken by the latest development in Jack’s storyline. However, it is important that our consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs. For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.

In addition, and most relevant to the concerns consumers are having after watching the recent ‘This Is Us’ episode, our Crock-Pot slow cookers are low current, low wattage (typically no more than 200 or 300 watts) appliances with self-regulating, heating elements. The product is designed to cook foods over a longer period of time at low temperatures and the switches connect to only 1 side of the power line voltage, so there is never a high voltage applied directly across our switches. The switches within our slow cookers are subjected to additional internal testing, which includes a Rotary Knob Endurance test, Rotary Knob Force Test and Flame Burning Test and constructed of self-extinguishing, flame resistant material.
Our hope is that the team at NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ will help us spread factual information regarding our product’s safety. While we know their primary mission is to entertain – something they have continued to excel in – we also feel they have a responsibility to inform. Just like many fans, we will be watching next week’s episode to see how Jack’s story progresses and, regardless of the outcome, we want consumers first and foremost to know they are safe when using their Crock-Pot.”

What can our brand do to be ready?

Here at Clarus Group, we’re big fans of the tools built into Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the social portion previously Radian6, now known as Social Studio.  Social Studio has a ton of tools to schedule your outbound messages across your social media channels, including allowing for approvals (another good idea to avoid a social media crisis!).  It also allows for engaging with customers over social media and doing analysis of the conversation.

Take a look at the Engage preview for the Crock Pot™ Brand, where it meets “This is Us”:

We’d love to help with this or any other Salesforce questions you may have!

All images are copyright by their respective owners.