It seems that Superman was no match for the strength, speed and power of social media, which erupted after DC declined to allow the Superman logo to appear on the statue of a young fan who died from abuse at the hands of his grandparents.
Jeffrey Baldwin died in 2002 from septic shock and starvation. Years later, a Kickstarter campaign was used to raise $25,000 for a sculpture to be created in his honour. The statue was to have Jeffrey dressed as his favourite superhero, Superman.
DC Entertainment decided not to allow the statue to use the Superman logo, citing trademark laws and other legalities.
Needless to say, social media erupted in a fury leaving a mark on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. While it took too long according to some, DC did reverse their decision.
Once again, the power of social media was on display. Brands need to be on high alert and recognize that every decision they make is now under the digital microscope.
It’s easy to fault DC in this instance along with the other entities who own parts of the trademark, but social media users were particularly vigilant.
While you can respect DC’s initial decision in some part for various reasons, one of their missteps was not seeing the onslaught coming once the decision was made public.
Brands, especially those who are historic or operate on the global stage, need to be prepared and ready to protect their reputation across social platforms.
The message will always be to have protocol in place that can help a digital marketing or communications staff deal with any crisis. Constant monitoring is essential all of the time, but if you know arrows are about to be shot your way then you need to be right on top of it.
DC might not have been prepared, and they did the right thing in the end. This is an important lesson for brands.