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Opportunities for bumps and bruises to brands abound in the wild wild west cyberculture of today’s social media. Imposters and infringement can eat away at brand reputation and customer trust. Fortunately, brand stewards can take proactive steps to keep their brands and the reputation of those brands protected online. Following are a few cautionary tales of companies and brands caught up in social media challenges and a checklist of strategies you can use to help shield your company in cyberspace.

That Dirty Tide Pod Challenge. Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently found itself, and its Tide Pod laundry detergent brand, caught up in a viral social media craze known as the Tide Pod Challenge. The challenge involves participants filming themselves chowing down on brightly colored laundry detergent packs (despite the Tide Pod registered trademark headlining the challenge, any candy-colored laundry pod could be used). The spectacle most likely reached its zenith in January 2018 when poison control centers responded to 86 cases of teens intentionally ingesting detergent packs—that’s about the same number of cases reported for all of 2016 and 2017 combined).

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