Social media is the world’s hub for controversy, and much of the cass cass involves brands that often seem ill-informed and insensitive about trigger issues. Jamaican firms and institutions, it turns out, are no exception when it comes to these unfortunate lapses in judgement.
So here is how one became the topic of conversation this week. The Heart Foundation released a thought provoking campaign about people’s unhealthy habits titled: “Are you drinking yourself sick. Drink water instead.” The campaign warns Jamaicans about the harmful effects of too much sugar.
In one of its Instagram posts, now deleted, the HF featured a Wisynco product under the headline “Are you making yourself sick.” Well, that started some serious fireworks. After reviewing the post, Wisynco now intends to sue the Heart Foundation for defamation. As they see it, the post suggests that drinking Wisynco’s product specifically will make you sick.
The HF may never have intended such. But the power of social media fanned the flames quickly. Both brands now have to save face. And they both may be right. Eating and drinking unhealthily are detrimental to our health. But making one brand a victim may be a bit unfair given the unhealthy choices Jamaicans make in fast food and beverage consumption.
This case will likely raise issues about fact checking when putting out public statements or advertising in the media. It will also focus on social and corporate responsibility if this turns nasty. We just hope that whatever the outcome of the case that Jamaican companies and institutions show care in what they say in social media.