PLT Bug Scandal – Crawling Catastrophe

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

At the beginning of the year, online fashion retailer Pretty Little Thing (otherwise known as PLT) got caught up in a crawling catastrophe. A viral Tik Tok video revealed the brand had put more than what the customer had ordered inside their package – a sum of bugs. This video created a domino effect as many customers came forward about a similar experience. Soon, rumours were spreading that the PLT factory was infested with fleas.

We’re going to highlight the importance of monitoring your brand reputation, the impact of influencers and how audience intelligence tools could control a crisis.

PLT's Influencer Effect

Although influencers are often assumed to be the result of a TV show or have a large following, this is not always the case. The Cambridge Dictionary defines influencers as “someone who affects or changes how other people behave”. Therefore, in real terms, anyone can become an influencer. Brands like PLT often use high profile celebrities to spread awareness of their brand and inspire people with their looks. However, in this case, one micro-influencer on Tik Tok had an adverse effect and turned many away from buying PLT products.

We did a quick search using the keywords ‘pretty little thing’ and ‘fleas’. One search identified results such as, ‘are there fleas in pretty little thing clothes’ and ‘pretty little thing flea infestation’. The viral video on TikTok seemed to be the stem of some of the searches. Top searches included ‘pretty little thing Tik Tok’.

Crises like these can be detrimental. Even if this wasn’t true, I am still put off buying from the brand. Headlines like this can stick in someone’s mind. If rumours aren’t addressed quick enough, there’s a risk of losing reputation. We use social listening tools to manage a brand reputation online and spot gaps in the conversation. Brands can intervene to stop the spread of damaging rumours. In this case, the brand responded rapidly with a message on their social platforms claiming that they were investigating the allegations. 

PLT Response to bug scandal

How do your audience feel about you?

Our Social Listening tools monitor the peaks in positive and negative engagement. A campaign could look like it’s doing well with high engagement and impression rates on the face of things. However, if you don’t have the time to monitor these campaigns, there could be many negative comments and shares. As showcased by PLT, sentiment is significant for your brand and knowing when and where to intervene could save you from losing a large number of customers.

Our Brand Health reviews come bug free!

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