Social media PR disasters and mistakes

Social media PR disasters and mistakes

Summary: Social media can be a double-edged sword.. how have some companies impaled themselves?


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  • After September 11th, 2001, airports were required to undergo a rehaul of security and travel procedures that still frustrate many today.

    However, if valuable baggage becomes damaged in the process and an airline proves unhelpful, patience can wear too thin.

    Dave Carroll, a country singer from Canada, was flying with United Airlines in 2008 from Halifax to Chicago’s O'Hare Airport in order to reach Nebraska. With several members of his band, Sons of Maxwell, they watched in horror as their instruments were roughly moved by baggage handlers. Once the band were able to check for signs of damage, it was evident that Carroll's $3500 Taylor guitar was so badly damaged it was unplayable.

    For almost a year, the musician attempted to get United Airlines to offer compensation. When this effort was obviously in vain, Carroll took to YouTube -- adding a lyrical edge to the battle. The video went viral, and the song ended up as an iTunes track -- now, it has reached nearly 12 million hits on YouTube, and a book deal has been reached.

    United Airlines switched to damage control, apologizing and also offered to replace the damaged instrument. Instead, Carroll requested a donation to the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute -- of which the airline gave a total of $3,000.

  • Someone with access to car manufacturer Chrysler's official Twitter account tweeted their disgust for Detroit drivers to thousands of followers. The message read:

    "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f**king drive."

    The company quickly removed the tweet, apologizing that its account had been compromised and for any offence caused. Chrysler later confirmed the tweet's source was an employee of its social media agency, New Media Strategies. The individual in question was later "terminated" -- but it goes to show what can happen when a third pary has access to a company's social media account. 

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Semi-literate writing

    " of which the airline gave a total of $3,000."

    Sigh. "to which". Writers on ZD are soooooo.... semi-literate.

    And then: "Customers that loks up the profile were no doubt confused when they met tweets in Taiwanese."

    "loks up" - really?

    Ok, let's face it: At ZD, editing for such minor things as grammar, or even spelling, is clearly secondary to its mission of getting out rarely-valuable articles.
  • Godaddy Suxx!

    As a consequence of Godaddy's support of SOPA and because of the elephant hunting "incident" (which I came to know at the same time godaddy had the bright idea to support SOPA) I decided to end all business relationship with Mr. Parsons' company and advised friends and colleagues to do the same. Just for the record I moved even accounts that weren't going to expire for the next 5 years, to completely cut any ties to with a company that not only didn't read bills before supporting them, but put the interests of its customers after that of Washington's lobbyists showing to be instantaneously ready to kiss a**.

    The animal cruelty only made me more determined to end any connection with the company and just to be clear I am not against hunting or fishing when doing so for food, but as far as I know Mr. Parsons isn't homesteading in Africa and that catch didn't have such purpose. Worse yet, it was actually justified in the lamest possible way as some sort of positive humanitarian help saying it was done to solve a problem where elephants were destroying entire harvests for the poor local communities. And that one elephant ended the problem? Does this guy and Godaddy's P.R. think we are a bunch of 2 years old?
    Obviously no footage of the alleged crop destruction was ever produced, but regardless godaddy should have never taken part in such activities even it they were aiming to "solve a problem" besides at not being in that kind of business, if it was really done to help locals, there would have been no cameras and above all no reasons to take a gruesome trophy photo. On the contrary, one would have taken no pleasure in having to shoot an elephant down. I am rather confident there would be a very numerous list of individuals and companies qualified to do that before godaggy would've been called upon. Also the right company would have been involved in removing the "problem elephant", it would have been shot with a sedative and relocated to a more appropriate remote location solving the problem for the locals and keeping the animal alive.

    Mr. Parsons should've just continue to stick to his shtick of featuring attractive chicks, leaving politics and animals alone.