Why Maytag is helping consumers 'clean up' social media feeds

The brand launched a Chrome browser plug-in called No Smear to replace negative political content with funny, patriotic expressions and pictures.

Company: Maytag
Campaign: No Smear
Agency mix: Ketchum (PR AOR) DigitasLBi (creative, digital)
Duration: August 25 - November 8, 2016 (Election Day)
Budget: N/A

Maytag has set out to help consumers clean up smears in the kitchen and on their social media feeds.

The brand launched a Chrome browser plug-in called No Smear to replace negative political content with funny, patriotic expressions and pictures. The campaign ties the release of Maytag’s new smear and fingerprint-resistant kitchen suite to the upcoming presidential election.

The No Smear campaign coincides with the launch of new Maytag products, including a refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave, all with a fingerprint-resistant stainless steel exterior.

The campaign began with a survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Maytag, looking at a sample of 739 American adults who use social media. Over half of those surveyed cited that they were annoyed by political smears on their social media feeds and 73% had unfollowed, blocked, or hidden someone's posts as a result of seeing negative political content. This survey was conducted live via Facebook and Twitter on August 1-3, 2016.

"We wanted to drive awareness for the Maytag fingerprint-resistant stainless steel kitchen suite by showing how committed the brand is to helping clean up smears both in the kitchen and online," explained Brendan Bosch, Maytag senior brand manager, of the campaign’s goals. "We also wanted to spread positivity and humor this election year."

Maytag's PR team teamed up with Dr. Arthur Lupia, political scientist and professor at University of Michigan, who consulted on the creation of the plug-in to ensure that it remained impartial.

"One of our biggest concerns was ensuring that the plug-in remained non-partisan and only targeted nasty, smearing content – not actual news and issues that would help keep voters informed," added Bosch.

The campaign team also sought to hire a spokesperson who would appear in paid-for social media posts and help to drive media coverage for the campaign.

The browser plug-in was in development for several months before it went live on August 25.The campaign's landing page on the Maytag website features the downloadable plug-in, as well as links to official presidential candidate’s websites.

Maytag teamed up with actress and comedian Abby Elliott to serve as a spokesperson for the campaign. Elliot, who is best known as a former cast member of Saturday Night Live, appears in digital, social, and paid media content for the campaign.

The PR team targeted lifestyle and business publications for the launch of the plug-in, top-tier entertainment outlets for a media day with Elliott in New York City on August 30, and political-focused outlets for interviews with Lupia.

The company also partnered with satirical news outlet The Onion for editorial and social content to promote the plug-in and campaign.

The program launched coverage in top-tier entertainment, tech, and political outlets including: Motherboard, Herald Palladium, ConsumerAffairs, Hollywood Life, and Daily Metro.

Elliott’s media day in New York resulted in placements with Vice, CBS.com, and Sirius XM’s Jenny McCarthy Show and Howard Stern’s Wrap Up Show.

There were over 4,300 unique page views to the No Smear landing page within three days of the campaign's launch.

Thus far, there have been 319 unique downloads of the Maytag No Smear plug-in via the Google Chrome store.

Maytag was unable to share social engagement or media impressions metrics, citing that the campaign had launched too recently for the figures to be accurate.

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