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Chapstick takes heat over Facebook campaign

When some people on Facebook objected to the use of this image in a Chapstick ad, Chapstick started madly deleting the negative comments, making people even angrier.

1. Chapstick likes to boast that it's " On Everyone's Lips," but this week the Pfizer-owned lip balm became a hot topic of conversation for reasons it would rather forget. To promote its current campaign, which asks "Where do lost Chapsticks go?" and directing people to Facebook to "Be Heard" on the matter, someone thought it might be a good idea to use an ad featuring a photo of a woman cantilevered over the back of a couch, presumably in search of an AWOL Chapstick. But when some women on Facebook called the prominent use of the gal's rear end sexist, Chapstick started madly deleting the negative comments. Which of course made people angrier, and made us wonder: Where does lost Chapstick love go?

2. After all, it's not like people are going to start smearing their lips with ketchup. Though ketchup with balsamic vinegar? Hmm. (Or maybe, Mmm.) This week Heinz, which has an astonishing 59 per cent of the U.S. ketchup market, announced it would bring the balsamic-tinged condiment, which was rolled out in the U.K. last winter, to American tables. For the first month or so, however, it will be sold only through the brand's Facebook page. Canadians, alas, will not be able to buy it, at least initially. Which makes us wonder: Where does lost ketchup love go?

3. While we're talking about Facebook, we thought we should mention some damning words about the company that came across the Atlantic the other day. Speaking at the Neolane Evolution Conference in Paris, Ray Wang, principal analyst and chief executive at Constellation Research Group, suggested that Facebook "doesn't respect privacy. Brands are over-reliant on Facebook and it will come back to bite them." According to BrandRepublic.com, he added: "If you have Facebook doing commerce and being the intersection of all your communications with consumers, you have to ask where that data is going." Facebook insisted he was wrong, but the comments brought new attention to one of the chief reasons people feel ambivalent about the social network. Which make us wonder: Where does lost Facebook love go?

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4. Because, sure, you share your most intimate information on Facebook, but are you going to stop doing that and share, instead, with a screen in the back of a cab? That's the pitch of Play Taxi Media, a Canadian company expanding its network of screens to 1,500 in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary next month. The company says advertising recall and user engagement is much higher for its interactive games and other experiences than conventional advertising, and claims that viewers frequently hand over their e-mail addresses and cellphone numbers in exchange for the special offers of its partners. That may be true, though we're skeptical. The last time we left anything in a cab, it was a tube of Chapstick. And we don't really want it back.

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About the Author
Senior Media Writer

Simon Houpt is the Globe and Mail's senior media writer, charged with covering the industry's transformation. He began his career with The Globe in 1999 as the paper's New York arts correspondent, covering the cultural life of that city through Canadian eyes. More

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