ivari, the Canadian life insurance company, found itself dealing with a hairy situation when confused Twitter users mistook it as the producer of U.S Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “fake” hairdo. The problem arose when social media users confused ivari for French hair restoration company Ivari International.
A story published by Gawker last May pointed to Ivari International as possibly being behind Trump’s hair (since denied by the hair loss company). After the article was published, some social media users confused the insurance company’s Twitter handle with the hair loss clinic and the tweets rolled in.
In an interview with The Insurance and Investment Journal, Suzzette Chapman, vice-president of marketing and strategy for ivari said, “At first we were, ‘What is this?’ After some research, we thought the best thing to do would be to have a little fun with it, but also make sure people understood that we’re not the same company.”
Chapman says ivari found the mix up hilarious and received some colourful tweets, but it also received tweets that they didn’t want attached to the brand.
In late July, ivari also released a light-hearted statement Trump haters mistakenly call us out on social media to help clear up the mix-up.
“The first few tweets @ivari_canada received had the marketing team in stitches. However, when the mentions really started rolling in, the team was shocked. Being a newly re-branded life insurance company they had been strategizing about gaining more social media followers and building their presence. Now @ivari_canada has followers from all over Canada and the rest of the world. All this to say: while we cannot help you regrow your hair, we can help you protect your family,” says the statement.
Be transparent, helpful and positive
Asked if she had any advice for other companies or individuals caught up in a similar misidentification, Chapman says to remember that social media is meant to transparent, so you can’t ignore things that happen.
“You always have to keep in mind that it is important to be respectful and if something can be made light-hearted, then that is the best way to go. Every time you engage on social media it should be transparent, helpful and positive,” Chapman says.
She adds, however, that the approach to social media responses must be determined on a case-by-case basis. “If something is really offensive, responding could be counterproductive, so you always need to think first.”
In the wake of the Gawker story, the owner of Ivari International has threatened legal action towards the publication for “false and defamatory” claims. As for Donald Trump? Well he insists his hair is real and once even had a woman in South Carolina pull it to prove it’s not fake.