As the New Year begins, we recall the top ten social media fails of the past two years. These are the ones that stand out; if there are any others that you think were as juicy for news, be sure to comment on our blog.
The immediacy of social media makes it the ideal way for businesses to expose themselves to mockery by sending out a hasty and unthinkable tweet without thinking through the consequences.
But not all of the examples on this list are sinful tweets – indeed some of the fails have been reversed with a sincere apology and reply. Others were not so lucky.
So without further ado, here’s the top 10 list of disastrous social media campaigns.
In August of 2012, Ryanair traveler was forced to pay 300 euros for forgetting to print off her family’s boarding passes. She posted this complaint on Facebook and received 350,000 likes and 18,000 supporting comments as a result. The Chief executive of the company, Michael O’Leary, unapologetically said, “We thing Mrs. McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid.” What happened to his customer service skills?
In January of 2012, McDonald’s invited its customers to use the Twitter hashtag to share their experiences of dining inside the McDonald’s restaurants (#McDStories). The fast food giant was hoping for some heart-warming tales and experiences. Instead, they faced an army of consumers taking this as an opportunity to criticize the franchise’s bad quality food, poor customer service and their treatment of animals.
3. American Red Cross:
Red Cross’ Tweet read, “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd.”
Response, “We’ve deleted the problematic tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated keys.”
What happened? Someone at the American Red Cross accidentally tweeted a personal, unprofessional message on the non-profit organization’s official Twitter account. The response was received quite well using self-depricating humor.
Chrysler decided to drop an F-bomb on thousands of followers on Twitter. It tweeted, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive.” New Media Strategies, Chrysler’s agency, accidentally tweeted it and the tweet was promptly canned. Chrysler made a public apology for such remarks and decided not to renew the agency’s contract. Can anyone blame them?
5. Anthony Weiner:
Anthony Weiner sent his Twitter followers lewd pictures of himself online. This is a bad idea, especially when you are a married public figure in congress with a kid on the way. Weiner initially claimed that his account was hacked. It was later reported that Weiner admitted to engaging in flirtations with other women while he was marred. He resigned 8 days after the statement was released to the public.
Lesson? Don’t post anything you don’t want the world to know about or see for that matter.
In January of 2012, Snickers hijacked the twitter accounts of Katie Price and Rio Ferdinand and it proved to be an ill-advised publicity stunt. In 4 tweets, Price supposedly posted something regarding the Eurozone debt crisis and called for a large scale quantitative easing in 2011. Many followers already knew and hinted that her account was hijacked.
What gave Snickers away? The 4 tweets were swiftly followed by one last one saying “You’re not you when you’re hungry @snickersuk #hungry #spon. The tweet also contained a link to the photo of Price holding a snickers bar.
This whole fiasco landed Snickers in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority, but the company was cleared of any wrongdoing.
In July of 2011, Obama and his 2012 campaign staff decided it would be a good idea to put pressure on the GOP by Tweeting out the Twitter handles of Congressional Republicans. Some of the tweets stated, “If you live in Missouri, ask@RoyBlunt to support a bipartisan compromise to the debt crisis.”
It wasn’t sitting well with followers or his voters. Obama clogging up his followers’ Twitter feeds was not making anyone more inclined to want to vote for him.
Femfresh came under abuse on Facebook for its use of euphemisms for the word ‘vagina’, instead referring to the area as a ‘froo-froo’.
Instead of dealing with the complaints, Femfresh decided to sweep the whole issue under the carpet and suspend the Facebook page.
Responses to the image were predominately negative with comments asking whether the product was ‘aimed at children’. Negative comments continued when the brand posted about keeping fresh at the Isle of Wight Festival and posted an image of an advertisement on a UK telephone box which shouts ‘WooHoo for my Froo Froo’.
The UK supermarket franchise Tesco faced a backlash in February of 2012 as ‘Twitter-bods’ complained to Tesco Customer Care about unfair working practices and slave labour conditions after ‘wage free’ job was advertised. The UK Tesco Twitter account is usually full of messages to customers with normal customer service issues. Tesco has a great social media customer service response team and deals with customer queries punctually and professionally. Despite the increase in social media activity recently, sales collapsed significantly over the holiday season.
This should be a fair warning to all businesses who try to open to many social media accounts to boost views to their site. Toyota, for example, came up with a fabulous promotion of Toyota Camry through SuperBowl related hashtags. The 10 accounts that were created spammed tweeters forcing Toyota to shut their failed campaign.