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Last February, when Tide's Super Bowl campaignwhich gently ribbed Big Game ad clichespretty much stole the ad spotlight, few knew just how close Procter & Gamble had been to a major fail.

For weeks prior to the game, social media had been going wild with memes of kids eating toxic Tide Pods, and the "Tide Pods Challenge," as it was dubbed, not only threatened to hurt the brand, but threw its planned "It's a Tide Ad" campaignwhich featured the podsinto disarray.

"That was not a good place for us to be," said Kimberly Doebereiner, director of brand building integrated communications for P&G brands in a presentaton this week at the Cincinnati chapter of the American Advertising Federation, talking about the last-minute changes the brand and its agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, scrambled to make. "We were actively trying to figure out what to do without calling more attention to it. [The memes were] shocking and actually highly upsetting to watch."

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