Brandwatch: Trump comments lead to negative social chatter for disinfectants

Not all publicity has been good publicity for the cleaning brands.

NEW YORK: After President Donald Trump suggested last Thursday that people could protect themselves from coronavirus by injecting disinfectant, Lysol got more than 698,000 mentions on social media, Clorox was mentioned 219,000 times and Tide Pods got 66,000 mentions in just one day. 

However, not all news was good news for the disinfectant brands. Social media monitoring company Brandwatch examined mentions of the cleaning brands after Trump’s press briefing and found that consumer sentiment across public social media accounts, news sites, blogs, forums and review sites was largely negative. 

“The sentiment around each product or brand is quite negative,” said Brandwatch senior communications manager Kellan Terry, who noted that the negative mentions were largely tied to Trump’s comments instead of consumers speaking poorly of the brands themselves. 

The conversations have included users telling each other not to drink bleach, but other negative mentions were consumers complaining that they could not find disinfectant products in stores. 

After last Thursday’s coronavirus task force press conference, #DontDrinkBleach garnered 243 million impressions and #TrumpDisinfectant got 52 million impressions. In terms of pure volume, the bleach conversation accumulated more than 1 million mentions on Friday, accounting for more than a 4,300% increase over the daily online median mentions of bleach since March 1, according to Brandwatch. 

Presumed 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s Twitter handle was the most mentioned within political conversations about Trump’s comments, Brandwatch found, largely due to his tweet on Thursday that said, “I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t drink bleach.”

Since March 1, “bleach” has been mentioned more than 3.6 million times. Since the start of last month, Lysol has had more than 1.7 million mentions; Clorox has had more than 822,000 mentions and Tide Pods has seen more than 177,000 mentions.

Before Trump’s statement, conversations about Lysol, Clorox and bleach all started to simmer in early to mid March, said Terry.

“These mentions were in response to the coronavirus pandemic gaining a greater consciousness in consumers’ minds,” he explained. “These mentions are composed of information sharing, panic buying and memes.”

Last Thursday, Trump did not name any particular disinfectant brands. "I see the disinfectant that knocks [coronavirus] out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” the president said. 

After the press conference, Lysol and Clorox warned people not to consume their products. Unrelated brands, such as Merriam-Webster, The Daily Show, TrivWorks and Burger King, also joined the conversation. 

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