‘Feeding their toddlers frozen fish fingers, swigging gin from baby cups and potty mouthed ranting about their kids online…’ read the Daily Mail headline, ‘Why ARE so many women boasting they're slummy mummies?
In last week’s scathing article, which attacked mummy bloggers, Anna May Mangan criticised the ‘booming trend in women confessing to their gin-soaked shortcomings as mothers and writing books documenting how terrible they are at parenting’.
She claims that these mothers appear ‘incapable of caring for their children’s basic needs’, are competing to be the ‘worst mother ever’ and are ‘bored to tears by the monotonous routine of bringing up a little one’.
Anna takes particular issue with Hurrah for Gin, Clemmie Telford, The Unmumsy Mum and Steph Don’t Buy Her Flowers as well as The Scummy Mummies – who combined have more than 407K Instagram followers.
The morning after the post was published online there was a big backlash, not just from the women who were directly insulted by the Daily Mail, but also by their thousands of followers as well as fellow mummy bloggers who felt indirectly targeted. As well as dismissing the statements made by the newspaper, their supporters also created the hashtag #Solidaritea.
A key theme among the collective response came in reaction to the article’s assertion that: “One blogger even happily confessed to being so lazy, she gave her toddler a fish finger straight from the freezer to eat.”
Seeing the perfect opportunity present itself, Birds Eye jumped at the chance to use it as part of their social marketing. Embracing the hashtag, and supporting the women in question, they created a short and simple video, which stated: “Slummy Mummy, Yummy Mummy, Funny Mummy, Proud Supporters of all mummies. We stand in #solidaritea.”
Despite the simplicity of the campaign it has already received 340K views on Facebook, 8.1k likes, 577 shares and 356 comments. On Instagram, Birds Eye also received thousands of views as well as hundreds of likes and comments. The outpouring of support for the mums fed directly into the goodwill given to the food manufacturer.
Meanwhile, Aldi also seized the opportunity, sending the Scummy Mummies a hamper simply filled with gin and fish fingers. It couldn’t have come at a better time for the supermarket, which has just released an affordable baby and toddler range. Of course, the comedy duo photographed it and shared it on their social pages, receiving thousands of likes and comments such as “Go get yourself a pay rise @aldiuk PR person, you rock! #solidaritea” and “This is awesome @aldiuk thanks for sticking up for us mums!”
The article may have been written to belittle these women, but it actually ended up bringing the community closer together and created an opportunity for brands to market themselves off the back of it.
There are two key lessons from this for those of us in marketing.
Firstly, it shows us the power that mummy bloggers hold and, therefore, why so many brands want to work with them. This power does not mean they are ‘bad’ parents, far from it, they simply show an honesty that is so rare on platforms such as Instagram, where lives are more often than not portrayed as ‘perfect’, which is appreciated by their many readers. In a blog post written in response to the Mail’s article, The Unmumsy Mum, wrote: “Admitting to serving up beige frozen goods ('freezer tapas' we like to call it, we're very middle class), confessing to the odd hangover and occasionally ranting about the inability to go to the toilet without a small person trying to unwrap our sanitary items is not boasting, Anna. It's just real life.”
It also shows the importance of reactive marketing. An opportunity to create a successful marketing campaign can present itself to you at any time, often when you least expect it, and so it is vital to keep an eye out so you can make the most of these. This could so easily have been a missed opportunity for Birds Eye and Aldi, but their quick thinking has gained them some very positive PR.
Of course this isn’t the first time that brands have used their initiative and created what would prove to be one of their more successful campaigns, by jumping on the back of an opportunity when it presented itself. In 2014, Specsavers reacted to Luis Suarez biting Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup football match with a campaign that pointed out the difference between cannelloni and Chiellini with their slogan ‘should’ve gone to Specsavers’. The billboards were quickly produced off the back of the Uruguay v Italy game – one of the biggest talking points of the tournament - and were also promoted socially with relevant hashtags. The quick-thinking campaign ensured they received a nomination for The Drum Roses Creative Award.
So, how do you make reactive marketing work for you in the same way as Birds Eye, Aldi and Specsavers have previously? Here’s five things to remember:
1. Keep a very close eye on the news – especially what is trending on Twitter
2. Read what others have written and said about an emerging trend – the detail is important
3. Think about how it could best work for your brand – don’t force it if it’s not relevant
4. Consider where and how you will promote it – you’ve got to be quick though, things can quickly move on
5. Sit back and enjoy the unexpected results!
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