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Reuters has a very interesting story about how Procter & Gamble could run into a social media buzz saw with its release of new diaper technology.

According to the story, one mother named Carol Valentine says that “she may never buy a P&G product ever again. Her four-month old daughter had been in Pampers Swaddlers diapers since the day she was born. Earlier this month the Michigan mom started to use a box of the newest P&G diapers with ‘Dry Max’ technology that is touted as thinner and more absorbent. Soon, her daughter's skin in the diaper area turned pink. By the next day, blisters had formed.

“Nothing in baby Alexis's routine had changed except that the family started using the new Pampers Swaddlers, Valentine said. A pediatrician diagnosed it as a chemical burn and one week later the area was still bleeding when touched, she said.”

Now, to be fair, to this point the Dry Max technology has been successful for P&G, which goes so far as to say it has been a “blockbuster start.” And on the company’s Pampers Facebook page, there are more than 200,000 fans, as opposed to the barely more than a thousand people who have taken to the internet to call for the technology’s recall. And P&G maintains that it tested the technology sufficiently and is confident that there are no dangers.

But...Reuters also says that “dozens of parents on Pampers websites, forums such as Facebook and online retailers including Amazon.com Inc and Diapers.com, say that even though the diapers are supposed to be more absorbent, they leak more and feel stiff. And while P&G says it is not receiving an unusual amount of complaints given the introduction of a new product, the negative discussion can take on a life of its own ... Some of the consumer anger stems from surprise over P&G's formulaic response to complaints ... when the latest complaints arose, some say Pampers replied with form-letter types of responses.”
KC's View:
It doesn’t sound like the complaints will be enough to scuttle the Dry Max technology, but I suspect that P&G may want to remain highly engaged with the conversation about it online. The worst mistake the company - or any company - can make is to not deal with something when it is a small problem, and wait until it has become a big problem.