THIS BLOG SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE, PERTAINING TO SPECIFIC FACTUAL SITUATION OR ESTABLISHING AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. Well, there are now fewer calls to the phone banks of plaintiffs’ lawyers’ as most problems resulting from holiday parties already have been raised. But plaintiffs’ lawyers have no fear: there will be a salvo of calls after Valentine’s Day. And that reminds me of a story.It is 9:00 a.m. A secretary reports to her desk. Waiting for her is a sealed card.The secretary opens the envelope and it is a Valentine’s Day card from her manager. Having undergone sensitivity training, the manager signs it “fondly” as opposed to “lovingly.”The employee is creeped out and goes to HR. HR talks with the manager based on a script we had prepared together.HR asks the manager if he knows why the card is inappropriate. He responds “No.”HR asks the manager to whom else he gave a Valentine’s Day card and he answers, “his wife.” Again, it is asked: “Do you know why card was inappropriate?” Again, he answers “No.”We now take out the crow bar. Is there anything you do with your wife in privacy that you don’t do with secretary? Ding. Ding. Ding.Of course, we did not directly ask the last question, but we get the message across.We explained to him that employees can be “so sensitive” when their bosses tell them:To the love of my lifeI cherish our moments togetherI love youRecommendation: A little email education on this issue to your managers now could save your company a lot of money later. It’s not complicated: don’t give employees in your chain of command, or over whom you have direct or indirect influence, a Valentine’s Day card. There is some risk in giving cards to peers. But in the absence of a power differential, that risk is less.Of course, that does not mean that everyone who sends a Valentine’s Day card is intending to convey a romantic message. After all, there are now Valentine’s Day cards for parents, kids, etc.For some, the Valentine’s Day card is simply a way to say you are important to me. The problem is the nature of the holiday may confuse the reason as to why the employee is important.Yes, Valentine’s Day this year falls on a Saturday, so there will be fewer cards. That means even hungrier plaintiffs’ lawyers to fall in love with you.
Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… One would think that few ads could be less controversial than ads for painkillers, but over the weekend, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of Motrin, found itself in the middle of a major controversy on Twitter, FriendFeed, and other social networks. Motrin’s latest ad discusses the advantages of using the painkiller for mothers who ‘wear’ their babies close to their body with a sling or other baby carriers and who might suffer from back pain because of it. A lot of mothers (and fathers) were clearly not amused by these ads and Motrin has now decided to remove them and has issued an apology.The ad, like a lot of ads, is offensive because it is boring and talks down to its target audience (and also because it stole its use of typography from a popular YouTube video (note: language in the video might be offensive to some)). Motrin clearly didn’t understand its market, but it is hard not to consider the ‘outrage’ over this video to be a bit of an overreaction as well.This affair is also a good example of how much power a vocal minority can have thanks to social media. The controversy has already gone beyond Twitter, and mainstream news outlets will surely pick this story up within the next day or two. frederic lardinois Related Posts We Feel Your PainMotrin, as Seth Godin points out, had a chance here to reconnect with its customers by using social media to reach out to them with its apology, but the company issued a standard press release-style apology on its site instead. That might seem old-fashioned, but for most companies, that’s the only way they know how to operate.Learning from ComcastMore and more users expect companies to reach out to them directly through social media, so just having a social media presence is not enough anymore. When controversies like this one happen (whether deserved or not), smart companies will reach out to consumers directly to stop these fires right where they started. A pioneer of this is obviously Comcast, whose ‘Director of Digital Care’ Frank Eliason reaches out to any and all Twitter users who tweet about issues with the company’s service. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Tags:#news#social networks#web A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit