Social media mishaps, failures and disasters from 2012
#1 – StubHub
If you have access to a brand’s Twitter account, make sure you log out before posting an offensive personal tweet. A StubHub employee posted: “Thank f$@k it’s Friday! Can’t wait to get out of this stubsucking hell hole.”
StubHub issued an apology and deleted the tweet. If you’re a social media community manager, this is one of those moments where if you want to tweet, find a different Twitter account to do it from that doesn’t include your work handle. Let’s not forget the Chrysler F-bomb and American Red Cross tweet “when we drink we do it right”.
#2 – National Rifle Association
In July 2012, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, was starting its midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” About 15 minutes in, a gunman entered the theater, killing 12 people and injuring more than 70.
Hours after the shooting, the National Rifle Association’s American Rifleman magazine tweeted “Good morning, shooters! Happy Friday! Weekend plans?”
Many thought it was an insensitive joke, but NRA admitted the person maintaining the account at the time was unaware of the Aurora shooting before sending the tweet. The tweet was later deleted.
#3 – American Apparel
American Apparel was slated for using hurricane Sandy as a platform to launch a 20% off promotion – for those who are “bored during the storm”. This was more than naive – it was a cheap shot, but at the same time, completely in-line with AA’s previous marketing activities, which have always been risqué.
American Apparel’s statement following the negative backlash admitted it was to make up for lost revenue since the brick-and-mortar stores were closed. There wasn’t a formal apology.
GAP tried a similar Sandy-related campaign but pulled it very quickly. Last year, fashion designer Kenneth Cole’s Twitter account made light of the protests in Egypt by tweeting, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”
#4 – McDonald’s
When McDonald’s launched their #McDStories social media campaign, they wanted fans to report their great dining experiences. The company even paid for the promotion of the hashtag to increase awareness. Unfortunately, many tweeters used the tag to talk about horror stories instead.
For a brand that has suffered for years at the hands of critics and where public opinion has been polarised for years, it’s incredible that no-one in the marketing team realised they would be instantly savaged by activists the moment the campaign hit the Twittersphere.
The campaign was pulledtwo hours later, but that didn’t stop the hashtag from spiraling out of control.
#5 – Wilcoxson
Better think twice before posting an answers on Facebook. A century-old ice cream company in a small Montana (US) town came under “fire” after a “racist reply”:
We don’t deliver outside of Montana, certainly not Pakistan
The company told the Daily Chronicle that the incident was a simple misunderstanding.
#6 – Chick-fil-A
When Chick-fil-A stopped carrying Jim Henson’s Muppet toys earlier this summer, angry customers took over the company’s Facebook page. The restaurant had no control over the content that users were posting to the page, so they enlisted the help of Abbey Farle – a fictional profile that only replied to negative comments on the Chick-fil-A Facebook page, defending the restaurant.
Not long after the comments from Abbey had started did they stop. One person found Abbey’s profile picture on a stock photography website and the profile was quickly deleted when people realized it wasn’t real.
Chick-fil-A denied creating the account. Whether they were directly involved or not, Chick-fil-A got immense backlash for Abbey Farle.
#7 – Waitrose
A Twitter campaign backfired on Waitrose, Britain’s most upmarket supermarket, after the brand asked its followers to finish the sentence: “I shop at Waitrose because…”
The campaign made the classic Twitter mistake of ‘finish the sentence’ – giving those who fancy themselves as a bit of a comedian or people with a grudge against the supermarket the perfect opportunity to give it a good mocking. And of course, the accompanying hashtag gave everyone the perfect tool to track the responses as the fun and games unfolded.
The outcome of the campaign was certainly not what they were hoping for, but they were lucky that it didn’t turn out too badly for them. Most of the responses were fairly tongue-in-cheek and didn’t do the brand any lasting damage, apart from to highlight its social media naivety.
#8 – Microsoft
Google’s Android is the most popular smartphone operating system worldwide. It’s also known that Android smartphones seems to be more susceptible to getting hit with malware-based apps. Microsoft decided to take this Android malware issue head on via its official Windows Phone Twitter account.
The message asks people who own Android phones to go on their Twitter account and post up their own issues with Android malware, with the hashtag “DroidRage”.
But the campaign against Android did seriously backfire. Many people posted messages with the #windowsrage hashtag:
Windows Phone is not alone when it comes to Twitter campaign backfires. Though a relatively new concept, hashtag marketing campaigns have already seen their share of failures.
#9 – SuperBowl Hijack
Car manufacturer Toyota didn’t create just one or two, but nine brand-new Twitter accounts to bring attention to their latest iteration of the Camry during Superbowl 2012. Anyone using a Superbowl-related hashtag was spammed with a message about a Camry giveaway. Social media users weren’t interested in unsolicited messages, so Toyota closed the accounts and issued an official apology.
#10 – KitchenAid
During the first Presidential debate in October, a member of KitchenAid’s Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle.
@KitchenAidUSA: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president”.”??? Wow!” #nbcpolitics
The company quickly deleted the message and issued an apology, but it had already been retweeted many times:
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Top 8+ social media failures from 2012 — http://www.torbenrick.eu/t/r/ver
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