Crock-Pot® Killed Jack

Thrust into an unexpected firestorm, we cooked up a strategic recipe for Crock-Pot® to extinguish the misdirected hatred, defend the brand and playfully remind the world that #CrockPotIsInnocent.

“This Is Us” is the No. 1 TV show in the U.S.  When a faulty slow-cooker burns down the family home and kills everyone’s most loved dad, Jack Pearson — the nation cried out; “Crock-Pot Killed Jack!” The issue literally ignited overnight. By 9 a.m. the next day, 618 news articles had already posted, and social media fiercely blamed Crock-Pot® for killing Jack.

But Crock-Pot®, the brand, was innocent. We needed to prove that we were innocent and separate the television storyline from a real-life brand crisis. We needed to turn enemies into friends and bring people together. To do so, we turned to the star of the show, brought him back to life, and invited him to express that there was no bad blood between his character, Jack, and the slow-cooker. If Milo Ventimiglia (Jack) could publicly forgive Crock-Pot®, perhaps the public would listen and forgive as well. This was the first ever apology by a TV actor. 

We focused our efforts on social media as online conversation was the lead driver behind traditional coverage. In addition, roughly 85 percent of social conversation was focused on Twitter. With a balance of empathy and playful defense, our social-centric response ensured one message was heard around the world - #CrockPotIsInnocent. We also created @CrockPotCares, the brand’s first Twitter account to address concerns and questions on the platform head-on.

Through our social media efforts, coupled with our interactions with the media, including the countless broadcast news coverage, late-night television monologues, and multiple references with the “Queen of Daytime Television,” Ellen DeGeneres — Crock-Pot® was proven innocent.

Through a strategic cadence of touch points over the course of two weeks, and with the help of some our new friends in Hollywood, including Milo Ventimiglia, we secured our transformation from kitchen killer to the appliance darling of pop culture.

THE IMPACT

  • First public apology by a TV actor in television history, released one day before Super Bowl 52 on Today (4.37M Twitter follower / 4.51M viewers).
  • ‘Apology’ characterized as a “Crock-Pot® Super Bowl Ad” – a $5M+ value, costing the brand $0 – and media declared we were “winning the Super Bowl without even having a commercial”
  • 3.7 billion+ impressions in less than three weeks of sustained coverage
  • 20,036 articles and 796,600+ social mentions
  • @CrockPotCares Twitter account grew over 2000% within the first 48 hours
  • Sales increased 3.1% YoY – despite the crisis, defying prior sales trends for the brand
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