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10 brands damaged by social media disasters

What are some of the world's brands that have fallen most from grace thanks to social media?

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Social media disasters conducted by well-known brands

Social media is a double-edged sword for businesses. While platforms including Twitter and Facebook can provide a way for firms to connect with their customers on a personal level away from helplines, if something goes wrong or the company makes a social faux pas, then the mistake is immortalized for the world to see.

Keeping this in mind, what are some of the biggest mistakes made by companies on social media networks?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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2 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Chrysler's F-bomb

In 2011, an employee from New media Strategies sent out a tweet on automaker Chrysler's Twitter feed.

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

Naturally, the message came as a surprise to the thousands of Chrysler followers and the rest of the Twittersphere. The firm's PR department suffered a difficult morning before promptly firing the sender of the R-Rated tweet, and Chrysler did not renew its contract.

Via: AdWeek

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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3 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Happy shooting

On the day of the Aurora, Colo. shooting, the NRA tweeted:

"Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?"

Naturally, the NRA received no points for sympathy, and a critical firestorm of tweets were launched across the social platform. The tweet was taken down hours later, and a spokesperson said that "A single individual, unaware of the events in Colorado, tweeted a comment that is being completely taken out of context."

Via: Salon

Image credit: Mashable

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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4 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

President Obama's grandmother

KitchenAid received no gold stars after a tweet sent from the company's account made a tasteless "joke" concerning U.S. President Obama's deceased grandmother. During the presidential debate, the tweet said:

"Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president #nbcpolitics"

Even thought the tweet was deleted minutes after, the damage was done. Twitter users and the media caught on, and the company was forced to send out a number of apologies. 

Via: Salon

Image credit: CBS News

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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5 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

McDisaster

Fast food chain McDonalds is far from the only company to tap into the use of hashtags to try and engage the social media audience with its brand. In a January 2012 campaign, the firm used the hashtag #McDStories in an attempt to promote farmer stories that reflected positively on the brand.

However, the farmer-based video content fell by the wayside as Twitter users seized control, and began hijacking the hashtag to criticise the company's food quality, service problems and horror stories. 

The hashtag is still in use. 

Via: Blue Claw Search

Image credit: Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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6 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

An IRS official who is poor at math

In May 2013,  senior Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner told reporters that she was "not good at math," as she tried to summon a statistic.

Unfortunately for the official -- despite her being a lawyer and not an accountant -- the comment immediately blew up on Twitter. 

Via: Washington Post

Image credit: Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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7 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Dell Hell

In 2005, Jeff Jarvis wrote a blog post on BuzzMachine.com which complained about a computer lemon that Dell sold the consumer, and the poor customer service thereafter.

Headlined "Dell lies. Dell sucks," while the post was originally a mere rant, the article quickly became a saga that follows the firm today. Readers left comments with their own stories of woe, and while the PR nightmare emerged on social networks, Dell remained silent until it was too late to stem the flow -- before offering Jarvis a new computer, and then agreeing to a refund. 

Via: The Guardian

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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8 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

United breaks guitars

in 2008, the music band Sons of Maxwell flew from Chicago to Nebraska with United Airlines. However, one $3500 guitar in cargo -- labeled fragile -- was damaged. Singer David Carroll communicated with the airline, and over nine months -- while the company did not deny the damage -- no compensation was offered, and United refused to accept responsibility.

Frustrated, Carroll and his band wrote a song documenting the experience before uploading to YouTube, where it has been viewed over 14 million times. The PR train wreck prompted the airline to eventually offer to replace the instrument, but the damage has been done. 

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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9 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Dirty Domino's?

We don't expect fast food to necessarily conform to incredibly high standards, but this was just nasty.

In 2009, staff of pizza firm Dominos -- for whatever reason -- thought it would be comical to deface food before posting the exploits on YouTube. After a mere 24 hours, the video had been viewed nearly a million times, the employees were handed their pink slips, and warrants were issued for their arrest. 

A subsequent statement on the pizza chain's website documents how social media can be used for good or ill, as well as apologizing for the situation:

"The opportunities and freedom of the internet is wonderful.  But it also comes with the risk of anyone with a camera and an internet link to cause a lot of damage, as in this case, where a couple of individuals suddenly overshadow the hard work performed by the 125,000 men and women working for Domino's across the nation and in 60 countries around the world."

Via: Adage

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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10 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Amy's Baking Company

Ran by husband and wife team Sam and Amy Bouzaglos, Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro was shown on Gordon Ramsey’s television show Kitchen Nightmares. 

The program showed the owners in an unflattering light; in the footage admitting that they took waiting staff’s tips away unlawfully, Sam became physical with a customer and a member of staff was fired for asking a question. After the show aired, criticism and comments appeared not only on the company’s Facebook page, but also on Reddit and Yelp.

However, it was not the criticism which was destructive to the brand — but the way the owners handled it.

Not only has the business response resulted in questions over Amy’s criminal history and allegations of money laundering, but the bad publicity resulted in an online petition for the U.S. Department of Labor and the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) to investigate whether the owners are unlawfully confiscating tips.

However, it isn't all bad news -- as the couple have been signed up for a reality television show.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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11 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Ryanair and "idiot bloggers"

Ryanair isn't world renowned for its customer service and tact, but once the budget airline went after an online blogger, the social media world was taken by storm.

An Irish blogger, Jason Roe, posted about an experience he had while trying to book a flight. Originally, the blogger believed he was able to book a free flight due to a bug on Ryanair's online booking system. Others attempted the trick, but Roe later realized his mistake -- and the airline moved in.

A number of Ryanair staff insulted and mocked him, calling him an "idiot," and a "liar" with a "pathetic life."

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara later commented:

"Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion," he told CNN. "It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers, and Ryanair can confirm that it won't be happening again. Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves, as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel."

Via: Wired

Image credit: Ryanair

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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