As many Americans panic about the increasing risk of an Ebola outbreak, Lysol appeared to have formulated a marketing campaign, for the United States, that involved the acquisition of the top Google ad spot for term “Ebola.” So whenever a user googled the word “Ebola,” the number one search result was a sponsored link to Lysol’s website.
However, it seems as if Lysol has now abandoned the campaign. As of October 29, googling the term Ebola, in the U.S., will no longer display the Lysol advertisement.
Originally, the Lysol had placed a link that led to a post on the “News & Events” section of their website called “Ebola Update: Oct. 14, 2014”.
As reported by Motherboard, the link included a CDC link for the latest information on the Ebola virus.
According to Motherboard, initially the portal had informed visitors that “Lysol products like Lysol Disinfectant Spray and the other products listed here are approved as hospital-grade disinfectants and though not specifically tested [sic] to kill the Ebola virus, based on their ability to kill similar as well as harder to kill viruses, these products are likely to be effective against the Ebola virus.”
Patty O’Hayer, a spokeswoman for Lysol’s parent company Reckitt Benckiser, said that it had purchased the ad words in response to an overwhelming amount of customer inquiries.
“We have seen an exponential increase in the number of queries we get from consumers,” said spokesperson Patty O’Hayer. “They want to know if our claim that Lysol kills 99 per cent of all germs applies to Ebola.”
As of October 31, the link concluded with the following statement.
“Lysol products have not specifically been tested against the Ebola virus but the products here meet the criteria established by the CDC and EPA.”
In an interview with Motherboard Dr. Abdulrahman M. El-Sayed, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, spoke of how “irresponsible” Lysol had been for attempting to profit from the public’s fear of an Ebola virus outbreak.
“It’s kind of ridiculous, and certainly irresponsible. I think this is a corporation riding on false fears of an epidemic to sell its product, thus reinforcing those fears.”
Despite the initial panic, recent hysteria concerning a possible Ebola virus outbreak have slowly begun to fade, with CBS News polls showing 61 percent of Americans are at least somewhat concerned that there will be a large outbreak of Ebola inside the United States within the next 12 months. This is down by 8 points from 69 percent on October 8.
Do you believe that Lysol attempted to exploit the recent panic caused by the Ebola virus?
[Image via Motherboard and Business Insider]