Når When trouble comes
The word "shitstorm" has gradually crept into the vocabulary of most Danes. The term, shitstorm, has come from German media, where it has since 2010 described pervasive outrage on the Internet directed at e.g., a company, especially by writing poorly about it on social media. It is especially companies and politicians who are careful about the term - or rather the consequences that a so-called shitstorm can bring. When a company or a public figure is suddenly exposed to extensive negative publicity, it is bad for the business or career - and then a serious round of crisis communication is needed to correct the damage.
We have collected 3 examples of Danish shitstorms below:
The name ’Jensen’ results in a massive boycott
When the Danish restaurant chain Jensens Bøfhus sued the small local restaurant Jensens Fiskerestaurant in Sæby over the rights to the Jensen name in 2014, the press was not slow to stage the case as a David versus Goliath story.
However, the steak giant Jensens Bøfhus was given the role of Goliath – an opportunistic capitalist who preyed on a small local business in northern Jutland. Jensens Bøfhus got it their way, and Jensens Fiskerestaurant thus lost the right to the otherwise common Jensen name. But it came at a price. 100,000 Danes subsequently called for a boycott of Jensens Bøfhus via Facebook, and the chain has since had to close several restaurants due to decreasing sales.
Anne Mee's "perks" trigger a shitstorm in the press
When the press found in autumn 2017 that the then employment and integration mayor in Copenhagen, Anna Mee Allerslev, had borrowed the town hall at Copenhagen City Hall for free, it was the start of a domino series of shitstorms for the young politician, and possibly the end of an otherwise promising political career.
During the autumn, the press revealed that Allerslev had also borrowed another room in connection with her 30th birthday – again without paying for it. The shitstorm that followed ultimately caused Allerslev to resign both as mayor and political leader of the Danish Social-Liberal Party in Copenhagen.
The shitstorm itself lasted for about 6 weeks and gave more publicity than six years as mayor, statistics from Medietrends shows. One of the most important rules when it comes to shitstorms is to acknowledge one's mistakes and be honest about the whole process and ultimately take the consequences it may entail. Only in this way you have a chance to save your image.
LEGO faces international criticism after collaboration with Shell
In 2014, a Danish company was hit by a shitstorm of an international format. We are of course talking about LEGO, which faced criticism from consumers all over the world after Greenpeace criticized the toy manufacturer in a pathos-heavy advertising campaign for collaborating with Shell.
In the wake of Greenpeace's campaign, more than a million consumers signed a petition saying that LEGO should not cooperate with Shell - a company that drilled oil in the North Pole. The campaign and subsequent criticism eventually led LEGO to abandon the large-scale collaboration with the oil giant. Regarding this particular situation, it is a good sign that LEGO listens to its surroundings and therefore resigns from the collaboration. Whether the reaction came quickly enough can be questioned. In a shitstorm, it is important that you as a company react quickly in order to eliminate further damage.