Have you ever seen a train wreck? Take a look at this one:It’s a train wreck of a different kind: A Public Relations Train Wreck of Epic Proportions. How do you Un-Brand Yourself you might ask? Here’s a quick summary:
- Tout yourself as the No Gimmicks, No Hype Health Magazine. Proceed to put a woman on your cover of your latest issue whose SOLE purpose is to ALARM and CREATE HYPE to the uneducated consumer with outrageous claims not backed by any science or facts.
- ACCUSE the naysayers and people who comment negatively on your Facebook Page of being PAID BY THE BIG FOOD COMPANIES to make these comments. Assume these are all robots/fake accounts or paid shills and completely ignore the influx of negative comments because to do so would be to acknowledge that people disagree with you, and that simply can’t be!
- NEVER apologize or issue any statement saying how unfortunate and how sorry you are for completely distancing yourself from your audience for accusing them of such a conspiracy and continue to keep your head in the sand and hope this all just goes away. Proceed as if nothing has happened and continue to IGNORE your audience. This is the
final stepnail in the coffin.
Congratulations! Your brand that you worked for many years to establish is now running itself into the ground. Your magazine will now be associated with words like “hack” “hype” “gimmicky” and “Dr. Oz.” (and no, that’s not a good thing).
On one hand, I can’t feel THAT sorry for a company that makes a ton of $ in advertisers and Life Time Fitness Club members. (The members of LTF get this magazine for free). On the other hand, I feel like I’m watching the reputation of a magazine I really enjoyed reading go down the crapper. It would have been one thing to have this woman (I refuse to even say her name to give her more “clicks”) on their cover and ignore the negative comments. But then they had to go and accuse the negative people of being part of a conspiracy. Just a crazy irrational accusation that clearly was not well thought out. If it was run by the editors or whoever goes through the approval process, I just can’t imagine them saying “Yes, yes go ahead and put that on Facebook. That’s exactly what we should do.” I haven’t been an employee of Life Time Fitness in over 2 years and while I don’t see the magazine having a huge impact on the enrollment there, I do think if I WAS still an employee, I’d have a very hard time standing behind this company for this response. And the fact that they are taking their time issuing an apology tells me one thing: They are not sorry. They actually DO believe that everyone that commented are paid shills and part of a conspiracy and they believe everything FoodBabe stands for. And that is freakin scary. I almost feel like this is break up. Yes perhaps a little melodramatic of a word…but not really. I felt connected to this BRAND long after I quit Life Time Fitness. I read this magazine every month and would buy it even after I wasn’t an employee and getting it for free. I cut out articles and recipes and workouts. I shared articles on my Personal Trainer page encouraging my readers on my blog to subscribe and “read this” and “take a look at this” and “what a great article!” and “isn’t this inspiring?” What a fool I was. I bought in to their gimmick didn’t I? I was just another sucker. I thought what they were doing was game changing. I thought it was “revolutionizing” the way we think of health and fitness. I feel like a fool. If this is the direction they are taking their publication, then I guess there’s no room for me on this train. They will have their followers I’m sure. There will be FoodBabe (I personally like the nickname FraudBabe the best) followers who will pick up that issue and read it and drink that Kool-Aid. Oh wait..not Kool-Aid. That contains chemicals and probably causes cancer, right? But they’ll hop right on board and Experience Life Mag will welcome them with their wide open, fear mongering arms. To add a little humor, here are the BEST comments that you may have missed among the almost 1,000 that they are getting in response to their conspiracy accusation.
LOOOOOL. Coordinated effort subsidized by special interest. If by “special interest” you mean “actual scientific facts” then yes. because going to a four year university to become a dietitian and NOT agreeing with an alarmist makes me ”industry”? Unbelievable response! You should be embarrassed…especially because I was once a fan of your magazine, left a comment on my view of Vani, from an educated person in the field of food science, and all of a sudden you’re going to label me as part of some ”conspiracy”? Really? Major PR mistake!
Goodness ~what an accusation! I am only one woman, a 62 year old marathon running grandma with an Oxford PhD. There IS no industry coordinated response, rather a series of responses from unpaid, concerned citizens of FaceBook-land. Many of us have been banned by the Food Babe for engaging in innocuous questions there. Perhaps you might question her about her ‘no-debate’ policy that results in shutting down debate by manipulating her open FB page.
Bad form. It’s called dialogue and healthy debate with your readers. Not squashing them and labeling them part of an industry coordinated response. Paranoia and bullying don’t seem like earmarks of a healthy way of life company or publication. Yeesh. So what you’re saying is that someone created my Facebook account in 2008, added 200 friends, posted regularly and created an entire life just because you would eventually have someone on the cover that people don’t like? How deluded are you maniacs? It couldn’t possibly be that people dislike your cover choice? Shame on you. Conspiracy? No…. It’s a legitimate concern that you’re placing a lady on the cover of your mag who has no credentials to discuss nutrition. She is not a dietician or a nutritionist, she’s a computer major… Her qualifications are nil.
If popularity determined credibility, she’s the queen. It just doesn’t work that way in terms of science, nutrition and health and it’s embarrassing to see someone like her get exposure over many others who preach a healthy lifestyle without the bad science. They have a Senior Editor in charge of FACT CHECKING???? Hahahaha!!!!! If we really wanted to make a freaking killing financially and had no ethics, we’d copy Food Babe’s business model. The “earmarks of an industry-coordinated response?” Seriously?
Oh man, you need to catch up with how the internet works, especially when it comes to science geeks. We run our own blogs, and we talk to each other. I’m a biologist-turned-EMT-turned-nursing-student. No industry ties. And man, I WISH I was being subsidized, because it would help pay my tuition. I get paid for saving lives as an EMT, not for schilling for the food industry. (And actually, seeing as I prefer to grow much of my food and support small, local farmers, the “food industry” probably wouldn’t like me too much.)
No, darlings, I’m just anti-pseudoscience, anti-false-information, and anti-stupidity. I’ve been teaching and tutoring science (biology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, microbiology) for years, and so many people believe all sorts of bogus nonsense because of pseudoscience quacks like “Food Babe.” I know a lot of other very real people with NO connection to any particular industry who are sick and tired of pseudoscience from quacks like Vani Hari.
If you can’t recognize that the flood of comments against Vani Hari are from real people, then you need to catch up with the times.
And here are some epic MEMES: **Updated: As of today, it’s been over a week and no apology. Their FB Page continued to post random articles from the current issue in the hopes that the “post in question” would travel so far down the page, maybe no one would notice. The comments have been nothing but negative and “We’re WAITING!” in anticipation of SOME sort of response…but they are quiet.
Their Amazon.com rating went down from 5 stars to 2 in less than 3 days. And, as soon as you search for it on Amazon, all the reviews posted are 1 starred. All the posts on Facebook are completely trashing the magazine as well as their sorry excuse for a PR department. The silence is literally deafening.