ChapStick stirs up controversy

An advertisement by the lip balm maker triggered a social-media drama that was simply unnecessary.

By Kim Peterson Oct 27, 2011 4:01PM
The latest online scandal started, as many of those things do, with a woman's rear end. And ChapStick wishes it would all go away.

Yes, ChapStick. The lip-balm maker, owned by Pfizer (PFE), decided to run an advertisement prominently showing the behind of a woman searching for her ChapStick behind a sofa. "Where do lost ChapSticks go?" asked the ad.

It was a bizarre photo (you can see it here) but not really any big deal. We've seen far worse in other advertisements.

Along came the inevitable blog post complaining that the image was degrading to women. The blogger also pointed out that ChapStick has been deleting any critical comments on its Facebook page (even after encouraging people to "be heard at").

For many, the idea that ChapStick was censoring was worse than the image itself. So more visited the page to comment, and more saw their comments deleted. I imagine someone over in ChapStick PR has a bad case of carpel tunnel today.

Finally, ChapStick responded by removing the ad and issuing an apology. "We know we don't always get it right," the ChapStick team said on its Facebook page. ChapStick also said it complied with Facebook guidelines and removed posts with foul language and repetitive messaging.

AdWeek seized upon the phony defense. "So, to those ChapStick fans whose comments were deleted -- it was all your fault, you obnoxious, foul-mouthed, menacing spambots!" wrote Tim Nudd. "Seriously, maybe just shut down the whole page at this point."

MediaPost's Catharine Taylor says the whole issue is really stupid. "So, what do we take away from all this?," she asks. "That sometimes people get offended by pictures of people's backsides, and that social media strategies should never be run by the legal department."

Tags: PFE
Oct 27, 2011 5:38PM
boo hoo....... the great usa ...the country of the offended......!!!  Crying
Oct 27, 2011 7:12PM

If people get upset by this ad they really need to get a life

Oct 27, 2011 7:09PM
As usual the idiots of the country who have such empty meaningless lives and nothing better to do, complain about this crap! Fact is the model has a decent **** (about a 7 on a scale of 10), the ad's cute and if it offends you, don't watch! Also, don't waste the rest of society's time with your ridiculous hangups!
Oct 27, 2011 7:37PM

offended by a girl bending over! Seriously?




I like this ad. Its fun and lighthearted.

Oct 28, 2011 7:43AM
I'm offended by mass killings and war. I'm offended by the US Government that has the audacity to proclaim itself for the people by the people. I'm offended by the fact that people can sit back and whine about a stupid company advertisement simultaneously whining about it on their cellphone in Wal-Mart blocking the aisle so I have to go out of my way to go around only to be heel bumped by their cart at the end of the aisle because they did not notice me as they were too busy on their crap I-Phone! Get a grip
Oct 28, 2011 8:46AM
I just saw the ad. It's halarious and I am totally not offened. It made me laugh because as you are reading this, there is likely a chapstick behind my couch from either myself or my kids. I am always losing them. The woman in the ad doesn't look sexy or offensive. She looks awkward and comical like anyone reaching behind thier couch. The company needs to grow a pair and put the ad back up! If it can speak to a middle age mom like me, it's fine. Makes me wonder what kind of idiot is offedened by this.
Oct 28, 2011 8:18AM
MAN!!! This world is really going to sh** huh? Where were these people with the old spice guy?? How about all those underwear ads from Victoria's Secret? OMG we see women in those shopping circulars in Sunday's paper!!! Holy crap people!! Get a fn grip!! The economy is tanking, there are wars and uprisings all over this planet, floods and natural disasters, hunger.... CAN WE FIND SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN A WOMAN IN JEANS????
Oct 28, 2011 9:15AM
As a graphic designer, I like the premise of this ad, it's universally funny and who hasn't lost all kinds of stuff in their sofa? This is not a flattering photo. It could have had the right impact had it been shot a little more from the side. Not sure if this is a low end stock photo or something they shot, it doesn't look like too much consideration was taken arranging this photo. That said think of the millions of jean "butt shots" you have seen over the years, male and female. I truly fear this planet is doomed if we can't look at something like this and not be offended.
Oct 28, 2011 7:37AM
This just proves that this world has become a freaking circus of clowns and that people are sitting around trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.  Folks, we have some really serious problems out there that will affect us and our children for the rest of our lives.  Grow up and find something constructive to do.
Oct 27, 2011 7:05PM
I am sorry, but if women want to truly be equals to men. They need to learn to get over stuff like this and quit making a fuss. If it were a man bending over the couch I am sure this would not be plastered over the net. I am a man and I could care less who is bending over the couch.

Oct 27, 2011 7:10PM
how come it's PC for women to drool over a cheesecake photo of a guy but as soon as the table reverses with a hot photo of a pretty woman, all of a sudden it's sexist!  Bunch of hypocrites....Great photo of a hot chick!
Oct 28, 2011 7:25AM
This is so stupid and getting way out of hand with people being offended at everything and then moaning about it. As if there aren't more important things to get upset about than a woman searching for lip balm. Would these same people be offended if it were a man's butt instead? Seriously ladies, get your head out of your behind and grow up.
Oct 27, 2011 8:27PM
This is totally in poor tase and disgusting, anbody knows that red pillow don't go with that couch, get a grip people
Oct 27, 2011 6:54PM
What a sad state of affairs in this country.  No matter what someone say or does, someone else will be offended.  This pathetic country is even scared of offending it's enemies.
Oct 27, 2011 6:57PM
who really cares about an ad that's made to be humorous... and people take it seriously.... that's what's wrong with this country today... they take everything to heart .....get a life and get over it ...its just an ad....... its not like there making the ad for that one person that's going to be offended by it...oh and by the way I'm sorry if i offended you...
Oct 28, 2011 7:01AM
Man, I wish a photo of something humans do evey day and that really isn't any of my business & has nothing to do with me was all I had to worry about every day. I guess the normal peope are all away from their computers actually HAVING a life.
Oct 28, 2011 7:56AM
Please people, GET A LIFE! The morons who are that thin skinned need to go bury their heads in the sand or Grow Up!
Oct 28, 2011 10:01AM

It is now  comfirned.  We are a nation without any healthy social boundaries.  This may be the cause of so much rage in our society. The person who totally flips out in the fast-food restaurant. The teen who has absolutely no respect for adults or authority and finds absolutely everything "boring" unless it has an immediate gratification for him/her.  We have become so incredibly innane about things that don't matter. Teens know the price of everything, and the value of nothing. The sad thing is they have learned this behavior from their parents..  We have definitely lost something America and we need to get it back, soon.  When a Chapstick ad can have so much impact, it is frightening. Where is our common sense?  When did we lose our collective sense of humor?  It time to bring back the ability to "mind our own damn business." and run our own lives. Again, why is this news?

Oct 28, 2011 9:08AM

When I saw the headline, i thought it was a woman in daisy duke shorts or something and it turned out to not even be spandex.  What in the world is the big deal?

Oct 28, 2011 5:51AM
In this Day and Age, how is it that something this insignificant becomes so bent out of proportion? Generally speaking, the Women that find this offensive should try focusing on issues that really make them look like sluts;e.g.- Letting their Daughters run out with half of their **** showing and all of the cleavage you can allow outside of a shirt.,Extra tight jeans and shorts., too much Trailer Park highlight Make-up, Etc., I see Women dress like whores and turn around insulted and disgusted at the reactions they get from the Wolves they advertised to...Having your Cake and eating it too?
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