Recently, toy manufacturer Play-Doh was forced to refund or replace a penis. Yes, you read that right. And no, we are not making this up. This is something that should “never ever happen…ever.”
There is no doubt that when a group of people look at something, at least a few of them will see something entirely different. There are countless visual art pieces that illustrate this point. However, when a company markets a product, they need to take a long hard look at that product and determine if, by any chance, it could be misconstrued by most fair-minded people. Play-Doh missed that lesson, and now they are suffering a huge public relations embarrassment as a result.
Shipped right along with the $20 Sweet Shoppe Mountain Playset is an “extruder” for squeezing out Play-Doh “icing” onto “cakes.” Basically, it’s the Play-Doh equivalent of a baker’s pipette. Except this one looks pretty much exactly like a penis. Or, as some Twitter wits surmised, a “dil-doh.”
Complaints about the product began popping up on Play-Doh’s social media pages way back in November, but the company apparently ignored them. But after Christmas, when countless kids unwrapped the obvious phallic package, countless parents were enraged.
After the snafu, Play-Doh has released a statement saying it will “update” future playsets. Also, concerned consumers may call Hasbro consumer care for a replacement. But that fix comes too little too late. Had the company chosen to stem the trickle earlier they may have stopped the negative PR flood that followed.
While it could be argued that much of the Internet – and by extension, social media – has the maturity of a 12-year-old boy, this is one example that cannot be pawned off as crass characterization by hormonal teenagers (or their adult counterparts). Play-Doh should have taken the hint. Instead, they are taking the heat.