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Continued arguments over Diva's new Playboy range escalated through its social media pages
Continued arguments over Diva's new Playboy range escalated through its social media pages

Playboy jewellery stoush swamps Diva

Jewellery retailer Diva continues to feel the heat after launching its controversial line of Playboy branded jewellery.
Irate customers, fans and parents have continued to inundate Diva Accessories’ Facebook page with complaints about its new range of Playboy Jewellery, first reported in Jeweller last week.

The new range, announced via press release, prominently features the iconic Playboy bunny logo on items including earrings, pendants and a black bow-tie necklace that mirrors the uniform worn by residents of Hugh Hefner’s Playmates.

The furore has seen hundreds of people speak out either against or for the jewellery chain, using Diva’s own social media platform. Caitlin Roberts, a fan of Diva’s products believes the retailer is being treated harshly and said that the company’s decision to continue selling Playboy-branded products was in the best interests of its business.

“Diva is a business, providing a product to a market that demands it,” Roberts said on the company’s page. “This market is NOT children. This market is older for 18-30 year olds. In fact, Diva figures reflect this is the market predominantly shopping at their store.”

Although Roberts’ view was echoed by other commentators, many more women claimed the jewellery line promotes pornography and is being inappropriately marketed to young girls.

In response to Roberts post, Simone Patterson argued that Diva’s demographic was in fact young girls.

“I’m sorry Caitlin, but the general manager of the entire company (Diva) admitted to me that indeed the success of the business was a result of the following they had from 8-14 year olds,” Patterson claimed. “I just don’t see how they, knowing that, can then introduce a range that features a pornography brand.”

Representatives of Diva began moderating the social media forum by removing expletive-riddled comments, although previously the company appeared to have been letting plenty get past the post.

“We are not ok with personal attacks or anti-social behaviour, so we will be deleting any posts that are considered this,” wrote the company in regards to a moderated post. “Feel free to post a cleaner version as we are happy for you to have your say.”

The ease with which disgruntled members of the public have been able to voice discontent via the company’s 92-000-strong Facebook page has seen the campaign against Diva become intensely vocal.

According to social media analysts, Diva could experience significant negative impact on its brand as a direct result of the campaign. Many unimpressed customers have already sworn they’ll never shop at Diva, while women’s and children’s activists are calling for the company to pull the line.

Lara Solomon, social media specialist, author and director at social marketing firm LaRoo believes Diva has failed to address all the issues at hand. Solomon notes that Diva has rarely acknowledged the variety of comments on its Facebook page, whereas it’s still allowing people the freedom to post comments on its Playboy range.

“People feel unanswered, that’s why they keep posting, so they hopefully get a response from Diva,” Solomon said. “Diva need to jump on the site straightaway and tell its followers why they’re doing it (releasing Playboy branded jewellery).”

“Businesses need to prepare and explain why they’re doing what it is they’re doing,” Solomon said. “Social media keeps businesses honest so no one can hide anymore.”

According to Solomon, businesses in today’s era need to prepare for worst-case scenarios especially where potentially controversial business decisions are concerned. Solomon believes Diva needs to do more in order to regulate the slanging match and limit abuse that Diva followers are currently open to.

“You can’t contain what’s being said,” Solomon said. “Obviously people are very passionate about the brand and are using social media as a way of expressing themselves.”

However, Solomon believes the company could draw some positives from the bad publicity.

“This could potentially be positive for Diva’s brand,” Solomon noted. “Diva needs to use this feedback constructively and turn its brand image around.”

Further attempts made by Jeweller to contact Diva for comment went unanswered.

The company has also refused to bend to repeated calls for a response to the complaints about the range. However, it did take the time to post a rousing tribute to the Wallabies: “Diva is feeling the sunshine and warm weather... looking foward (sic) to watching the Aussies take on South Africa in the World Cup, GO WALLABIES!!”

More reading:
Playboy Jeweller ignites Facebook fury
Use Facebook to sell more
Facebook: How to use it and win business


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