This Is Us, Crock-Pot Brand, and Their Brilliant Marketing Strategy

Please note, there are some spoilers in this article

this-is-us-slow-cooker-fire-jack-season-2-episode-13
Courtesy of NBC

Until three days ago,The Crock-Pot® Brand, did not have a Twitter account. It created the social media account for one purpose — to comfort the fans of “This Is Us” after this Tuesday’s episode.

When I woke up Wednesday morning my Facebook feed was filled with, “I’m getting rid of my Crock-Pot®” statuses. Now was the time for The Crock-Pot® Brand, to get involved in this social media and marketing fiasco. However, is this really a fiasco or an opportunity for Crock-Pot® to truly market their product?

How It All Started

On Tuesday’s episode, what happened was this: the Pearsons were watching the Super Bowl. Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) cleaned up the kitchen and turns off the old slow cooker. Now through flashbacks, we see that this slow cooker is a hand-me-down from a neighbor. Let’s also keep in mind that the neighbor also warned them that the switch is a little finicky. Even though Jack, America’s favorite TV dad, turned it off; the slow cooker turned back on, starting a fire that will likely kill Jack.

In response, fans began eying the kitchen appliance with distrust, with some vowing never to touch their slow cookers ever again.

The Pearsons’ slow cooker brand was never named, but since Crock-Pot is currently the No. 1 brand for slow cookers, they took a lot of heat.

Dan Fogelman, creator of “This Is Us”headed to Twitter to calm and reassure fans too.

Brilliant Marketing

I should mention, for those of you who are interested, that the makers of Crock-Pot are taking a hit in the stock market as noted in Business Insider. Two things that the article pointed out and highlighted are:

  • Newell Brands’ stock is plunging after the company announced 2018 full-year guidance that disappointed analysts and investors.
  • The company is already dealing with the PR fallout after its Crock-Pot product caused the death of a beloved character on NBC’s “This Is Us.”

“For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode,” Newell said in a statement. “In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.”

Damage control needed to be at the forefront of this event, and so Crock-Pot created a much-needed Twitter account.

The Crock-Pot® Brand really did take this opportunity to reach out. As of this morning, it has already grown to 1,404 followers. That happened in just three days. They are also looking up hashtags like #thisisus and #CrockPotKilledJack and responding individually to each person. Talk about outreach!

In an interview with HuffPost, a Crock-pot spokesperson said, “Our hope is that the team at NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ will help us spread factual information regarding our product’s safety. While we know their primary mission is to entertain — something they have continued to excel in — we also feel they have a responsibility to inform.”

The Crock-Pot® Brand also released a statement:

“Crock-Pot understands the concerns brought up by last night’s episode of This Is Us, and we too are heartbroken by the latest development in Jack’s storyline. However, it is important that our consumers understand and have confidence that all Crock-Pot slow cookers exceed all internal testing protocols and all applicable industry safety standards and regulations as verified by independent third-party testing labs. For nearly 50 years, with over 100 million Crock-Pots sold, we have never received any consumer complaints similar to the fictional events portrayed in last night’s episode. In fact, the safety and design of our product renders this type of event nearly impossible.

In addition, and most relevant to the concerns consumers are having after watching the recent This Is Us episode, our Crock-Pot slow cookers are low current, low wattage (typically no more than 200 or 300 watts) appliances with self-regulating, heating elements. The product is designed to cook foods over a longer period of time at low temperatures and the switches connect to only 1 side of the power line voltage, so there is never a high voltage applied directly across our switches. The switches within our slow cookers are subjected to additional internal testing, which includes a Rotary Knob Endurance test, Rotary Knob Force Test and Flame Burning Test and constructed of self-extinguishing, flame resistant material.

Our hope is that the team at NBC’s This Is Us will help us spread factual information regarding our product’s safety. While we know their primary mission is to entertain – something they have continued to excel in – we also feel they have a responsibility to inform. Just like many fans, we will be watching next week’s episode to see how Jack’s story progresses and, regardless of the outcome, we want consumers first and foremost to know they are safe when using their Crock-Pot.”

What to Take Away From This

Here’s the thing, Marketing, is not an easy thing. In fact, it is one of the hardest jobs in the advertising and entertainment industry. One must have the ability to think quickly on their feet along with a penchant for creativity. When a public relation fiasco occurs, the brand needs their PR team to think on their feet and act fast. That’s exactly what Newell Products and Crock-Pot did. Social media is more than just a status update tool. It is used to reach out, connect, and educate the public.

Damage control is a big part of public relations and marketing. Once you have a great PR team available, you will be able to face whatever curveball is thrown at you.

Good job Crock-Pot, good job.