The importance of maintaining a positive public profile is imperative to most organisations, however, social media slip-ups happen to the best of us and I think these businesses are going to have to do A LOT of crisis management to try and regain public approval after these blunders…
1- KitchenAid gets political
Following the 2012 re-election of President Barack Obama, kitchen appliance giants KitchenAid tweeted out an extremely callous message from their official American Twitter page. It brazenly insinuated that the cause of Obama’s grandmother’s passing was because she knew how ‘bad’ his first term as president was going to be.
Consequently, KitchenAid immediately issued statements claiming that the cause of the insensitive tweet was down to an employee who accidentally tweeted from the company profile as opposed to their own private one. KitchenAid proceeded to send personal apologies to Obama over Twitter in hopes to diffuse the situation.
2- Domestic violence mix-up
When DiGiorno Pizza saw the hashtag #WhyIStayed trending on Twitter, they took the opportunity to try and inject a bit of humour into their newsfeed by contributing to the discussion with “You had pizza”. This obviously being a harmless remark with no malicious intent. However, it seemed to backfire as the topic of discussion surrounding the hashtag #WhyIStayed was domestic abuse, a fact that DiGiorno’s were completely unaware of. This evidently sparked annoyance with the general Twitter public as many felt offended by their tasteless manipulation of a serious issue.
DiGiorno’s followed up their mistake by sincerely apologising to their followers and assuring them that they meant no harm with their comment.
3- Coca-Cola gets flushed for their poor geography
On release of Coca-Cola’s annual Christmas campaign, they sent out a tweet with a picture attached of a cartoon, snow-covered Russia. As harmless as this seems, on closer inspection of the map, Kaliningrad (a city that was annexed by Russia during WW11) was missing off the map.
As you can imagine, the loyalists of Russia were very unhappy about this and so took to Twitter, posting images of them flushing Coca-Cola down their toilets and tagging #BanCocaCola
4- And the Oscar goes to…Oprah!
With thousands of people following the #Oscars trend as the awards were announced, it left little room for embarrassing tweets to go unnoticed. Total Beauty magazine fell into this hole of humiliation after posting a tweet with a picture of Whoopi Goldberg attached, however, the caption was tagging Oprah Winfrey! – Very bad timing to get celebrities confused and two very fierce and iconic ladies to get mixed up.
5- “White Makes You Win”
From bad to worse, this PR campaign that was posted on Twitter by the beauty brand Seoul Secret promoting skin-lightening products depicts two images of the same model. On one image she has her natural skin-tone and is smiling charmingly, however on the other image, she has been edited/covered in makeup to look like she has a significantly darker skin-tone. She also seems to be glaring maliciously when portrayed as the woman with the deeper skin which, coupled with the tagline “White Makes You Win” gives off very colourist vibes.
Not only this but the company also tweeted out information about how the singer Chris Horwang claimed she only started seeing success when she began lightening her skin- It’s no surprise that this didn’t go down well!
It’s clear to see that company’s need to be extremely careful when it comes to sharing/posting/associating with any controversial online content as they can lose a lot of custom from saying the wrong thing. Not researching into effective ways to use social media means that companies are now tripping up on little mistakes (like not researching hashtags) which can be detrimental to their businesses’ status!
-Well, at least there’s no such thing as bad publicity…I think.