Bic, a company made famous for its inexpensive lighters and pens, failed miserably when, in celebration of South Africa Women’s Day, it posted a statement on Facebook asking women to “think like a man.”
They thought they were being complementary?
And in reply, the company got a lot of people — primarily women — flicking their Bics at company management.
Sydney, Australia’s Rebecca LeBard tweeted:
“Look like a girl” “Think like a man” #Bic fails spectacularly with this #happywomensday ad. pic.twitter.com/G9avXp4MoV
— Rebecca LeBard (@rlebard) August 12, 2015
@rlebard @Dr_Mel_Thomson I’d love to know how many women were involved in the campaign.Zero, would be my guess.
— jansci (@thereminfan) August 12, 2015
@rlebard oh good god, please tell me that’s a joke?! @Dr_Mel_Thomson
— Lilith (@FeministBorgia) August 12, 2015
@rlebard @Brooks_Rob By Don Draper?
— Aaron Goetz (@aarongoetz) August 12, 2015
Then another offered a litmus test for future ad campaigns:
I think the litmus test for brands should be if would it work if the roles are reversed. #absurd, isn’t it? #BIC pic.twitter.com/JoGGmtYJSi
— JanetBr (@janetbr) August 11, 2015
@lilyinthefield good point
— JanetBr (@janetbr) August 11, 2015
Bic was quick to respond. The company posted this apology on Facebook:
“Hi everyone. Let’s start out by saying we’re incredibly sorry for offending everybody – that was never our intention, but we completely understand where we’ve gone wrong. This post should never have gone out. The feedback you have given us will help us ensure that something like this will never happen again, and we appreciate that.”
But replies indicated it was a matter of too little, too late. Arianna Baldo’s response was typical:
The sad thing in this story is that apologies make no difference. The real problem here is the mentality behind the creation of the advert, which believes women should invest in their looks (and in looking like GIRLS, who is literally used to define teenagers or children) and in emulating men in order to be recognised and achieve success. It is clear that this mentality is embedded within your advertising agency / marketing team since no one realised how backward the message is. This concept looks like it was developed by 70 year old men in the 1950s.
One person recalled another Bic failure from a few years back.
@rlebard @Dr_Mel_Thomson what more do you expect from a company which thought lady pens were a good idea pic.twitter.com/6WEdjPE2gg
— Kym Charlton (@Omshadiddle) August 12, 2015
That gaffe was duly noted at the time by comedian and TV personality Ellen Degeneres.
One has to wonder if Bic has any women in upper management. I’m guessing not.
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