PR Campaigns – The blog

April 14, 2009

Smarties not so smart?

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — viancavv @ 11:14 am

Don’t ask me how, but I stumbled upon a “pr dilemma” Smarties candy faced in March. Smarties are the little sugary disks that come in all different colors, and they’re pretty yummy. There had been word that kids are crunching up the little candies and “sucking them in their mouths which turns them into smoke, yeah a little confectionery Puff the Magic Dragon action going on for fifth graders.”

Apparently a couple YouTube videos had circulated, as well as a Fox News piece. Parents were claiming that this little act with the Smarties had them wondering what the kids will be smoking next. They think it’s a logical progression into more serious drugs. I think it’s really far fetched.

The “dilemma” then was that Smarties hadn’t confronted the issue on their home website. They made a few comments on Fox News, but they made no other attempts to address the issue. Should they have tried to reach out to parents first hand instead of through other networks? Let them know they’re aware of the issue and don’t support it? Should they even have done anything at all? Is it something that just passes with time?

I think Smarties would have been wise to at least let people know they were aware of what was going on and they didn’t support it. Whether they agreed with the idea that it would lead to other smoking habits or not, it would be wise to acknowledge the idea, especially on the sites that were promoting the act.

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2 Comments »

  1. Ha I find this examples hysterical. I don’t know if anyone else remembers the little gum cigarette packs you used to be able to buy, but I immediately thought of those. I used to buy those at the mall with my brother when I was a little kid. I would also like to note that I do not smoke cigarettes.

    I think this is one of those things that if you take away the ability for people to even jokingly do it (which may or may not be the case), kids will want to try more. It’s kind of like a reverse psychology effect.

    Now I am not condoning smoking or anything, but chances are the kids who are going to smoke are going to smoke regardless of whether or not they faked it with Smartees.

    Comment by mjcavaleri — April 20, 2009 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  2. I have to agree that this is just funny. It is a good example of how a small issue can get blown out of proportion with the help of internet and other media and fall into the laps of PR professionals. Referring back to our lecture last week about crisis communications, this definitely doesn’t fall under that umbrella in my opinion because how can you predict something like this would happen? Smarties should have made a statement about how they don’t condone how kids are using their candy but they also probably didn’t want to draw more attention to the situation. I agree with Michael, if kids are going to smoke, they’re going to smoke. The blame can’t be on smarties.

    Comment by lehanson — April 21, 2009 @ 7:14 am | Reply


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