Woolworths gets defeated by homeworking mum

Woolworths have big red faces over an entry in their Big Red Book. This is their catalogue shopping service that also features online. The problem is that no-one at Woolies realised that the word “Lolita” had sexual connotations when they started selling a bed with that name. Worse still, the bed was being sold for young girls.

However, well done Woolies, because in just hours after being notified of the appalling mistake, they have withdrawn the product and are taking up the naming of the item with their supplier.

So how did this error come to light? And how come Woolworths reacted so fast? It’s another example of Internet power and the damage to corporate reputations that social networking can bring about. The Lolita bed was first discovered by Catherine Hanly, the editor of Raising Kids, the parenting web site. Catherine raised the issue in the site’s forum and notified Woolies. They must have noticed that dozens of people were commenting about the stupidity of the naming choice and withdrew the product.

Bad publicity can bring a business to its knees quickly; remember the Ratner incident? These days, online interactions in forums, blogs and social networking sites can rapidly cause problems. HSBC bowed to group pressure on Facebook, for example. Businesses need to constantly monitor the Internet for any interactions about their products and services – and then deal with the issues raised. Otherwise their companies will end up with tons of bad publicity and no matter how hard they try, their sales efforts will be taking place in a negative environment. Monitoring your online reputation is essential. Oh – and knowing the implication of the words you use, like “Lolita”, will also help…!

Like this article?

Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on email
Share via email

Other posts that might be of interest

man searching
Internet Marketing Articles

Can you find what you are looking for?

If you want to increase your sales, your business needs to make it easy to find everything. That means reviewing how your web search works. It suggests you might need to reconsider the navigation structure of your website. It might even mean you need to distribute your content away from your site and have it on a variety of different platforms.

Read More »
Empty football stadium with no supporters
Internet Psychology

How well supported are you at work?

Yesterday I was transported back in time. I haven’t discovered time travel. Instead, my mind quickly flipped back to a meeting about three years ago that involved the same group of people. I noticed how

Read More »
Man using digital technology
Internet Psychology

Are you obsessed with digital?

Being obsessed with digital could take you away from old-school technologies that do the job better. Yet, avoiding technological change can cost your business dearly. How can you get the balance right?

Read More »