The Worst Social Media Screw-Ups of 2012

It’s easy to feel for brands in social media. On the one hand, they’re told to “act human.” Then, like all humans, they screw up — and people jump all over them.

There were a couple of situations that come to mind this year as real fails from a social media standpoint. These screw-ups may seem small, but they embarrass the brand and then live on the Internet forever, just waiting around for a journalist like me to shine light on them, over and over again. Digiday combed through them and found the top five we’d never want to happen to us.

1. McDonald’s
In January, McDonald’s rolled out a campaign that centered on the #McDStories hashtag. The brand was asking people to share their favorite McDonald’s memories on Twitter. But the hashtag was more of bashtag. Twitter users shared stories like, “The last time I ate a McFish I vomited for an hour.”

Image via Twitter 

2. American Apparel
American Apparel had an ad for a clothing sale, which it promoted via social media and through an email blast. It offered 20 percent off to customers “bored during the storm.” Consumers went nuts and aired their emotions on Twitter.

Image via Mashable 

3. British Airways
British Airways retweeted a racist message that Twitter user Gordon Qiu made to vent his frustration over the cancellation of his flight. His Twitter account is protected, so we can’t get the actual tweet. But Qiu was having a conversation with a friend on Twitter regarding the cancelled flight and wrote, “Go back to your f…ing country you gook.” After retweeting, British Airways apologized for the mistake.

Image via Olery 

4. Chrysler
Chrysler is super proud of its Detroit heritage. In fact, it’s 2012 Super Bowl commercial was all about Detroit. Then, in April, the car maker posted the following tweet on Twitter.

mage via Jalopnik

The tweet was later deleted and Chrysler apologized.

5. Kenneth Cole
Kenneth Cole, the chairman of the brand Kenneth Cole, often tweets using the company’s official Twitter account and did so right after the protests erupted in Egypt.

Image via CNN

About two hours later, Cole apologized, but this is still a really insensitive post and should not have been tweeted to begin with.

Main Image via Shutterstock

More in Marketing

In the marketing world, anime is following in the footsteps of gaming

As marketers look to take advantage of anime’s entry into the zeitgeist, they might be wise to observe the parallels between the evolution of anime as a marketing channel and the ways brands have learned to better leverage gaming in recent years. 

With the introduction of video ads and e-commerce, Roblox looks to attain platform status

Roblox is expanding into more areas than just ads in 2024. Much like platforms such as Amazon and Facebook have transcended their origins to evolve from their origins as online marketplaces and social media channels, Roblox is in the midst of a transformation into a platform for all elements of users’ virtual lives.