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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  • At the same time a union dispute was in full swing, Australian airline Quantas decided to launch a Twitter competition offering a first-class gift pack and Quntas pajamas for its followers.

    Using the hashtag #QuantasLuxury -- which is still active -- the airline asked Twitter users to send out this tag in order to enter the competition.

    However, the users in question decided to hijack the tag for their own ends. Rapidly, the tag trended with complaints of delays, cancelations, and commentary on the union strike. 

    Quantas has a reputation for generally responding well to individual tweets, but their marketing campaign was nothing if not ill-timed.


  • The Red Cross was left red-faced when their social media specialist Gloria Huang released a personal tweet on the company's Twitter profile by accident.

    The tweet was noticed and taken down after an hour, but it had already been on the American Red Cross Twitter feed for some duration.

    The social director of the organization, Wendy Harman, deleted the message following calls in the middle of the night. Huang later posted a message on her personal Twitter account to apologize -- blaming the error on her novice use of social media platform organizer Hootsuite.

  • Blogger Jason Roe pointed out a flaw in the Ryanair website that made it possible for someone to book a flight and not be charged for it. Although the writer did not book a free flight himself, he wanted the error to be known -- and therefore wrote about the error in a post on his personal blog.

    How did Ryanair react? In a priceless way more suitable for a juvenile Facebook row.


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.