We all know that social media is a great tool to enable you to showcase your brand, new products and your company as a whole. However, sometimes things just do not go to plan.
So, here are a few classic examples of social media PR disasters that have taken place over the last few years. Just remember to pay attention to ensure that your company doesn’t appear on this next in the future!
1. Susan Boyle’s PR team is embarrassed by accidental adult party invite:
A PR disasterpiece! Thanks to Twitter (and a bit of help from her PR team), singer Susan Boyle went from winning Britain’s Got Talent and selling millions of albums worldwide to hosting her own adult sex party. How did this happen I hear you ask? Well, in 2012, to celebrate the release of her latest album a very unfortunate hashtag was used on Twitter to promote it’s launch. The hashtag in question? Well, it just happened to be #susanalbumparty, which when broken down spells ‘Sus’ Anal Bum Party’, or it could have been ‘Susan Album Party’. It just depends on how dirty your mind works!
2. Waitrose are Mocked for Upscale Image:
Again in 2012, the Waitrose PR team thought it would be a good idea to ask it’s Twitter followers to complete the sentence “I shop at Waitrose because…”.
Bad idea. Instead of receiving thousands of positive tweets, Waitrose were subjected to a high number of comments that mocked their upscale, better than everybody else, image.
See some of the best comments below:
3. Asus Backtrack on Competition Rules:
In 2009, Asus decided to run a competition to generate some buzz regarding their products. The competition would see randomly selected bloggers given a number of Asus products to review and blog about, and followers would vote for their favourite blogger. This would then result in the most popular blogger keeping the Asus products that they had reviewed which, by the end of the competition, was won by Gavyn Britton.
The problem? Well, Asus didn’t agree with the public’s decision to choose Gavyn Britton as the winner, so they decided to backtrack and change the voting rules despite the competition already being over. This led to them proclaiming a new winner through new voting polls which did not include the popular vote which was initially what would decide the outcome.
This, not surprisingly, resulted in a public backlash with many Twitter followers turning on Asus and tweeting a whole range of negativity, leading to a very bruised reputation.
Lesson to learn; when stating that the public can choose a winner don’t change your mind just because you don’t like the person that’s won. It won’t end well!
4. The Heat Gets Turned Up on British Gas:
OK, lesson number one; do not run a Q&A session on Twitter when you have just announced a substantial price increase of 9.2%. Unfortunately, nobody at British Gas realised that this wasn’t a particularly bright idea and they received a good old-fashioned social media hammering!
5. Maccy D-iaster!
Finally, in 2012, McDonalds unwisely decided that they wanted social media users to share their McDonalds stories……however it didn’t quite go the way they had planned, with the stories being shared not exactly of the positive variety:
So, thinking of running a PR campaign via social media? If so, think about what you are trying to achieve because, if you don’t, you might end up looking rather silly!