Top 7 Social Media fails

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Social media has emerged as an important part of any businesses promotion and client base development platform. The perception of social media marketing has marked its importance not just as a passing trend, having a flexible and well-managed presence in each of the “big three” (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+) but has become a necessity for any business, seeking to secure a place in both the traditional and digital marketplace.Innovation, creativity and the ability to react rapidly to changes, both in the popularity and capabilities of social site, are the foremost demands of Social Media Marketing. It plays a vital role in the success or failure of a business.

Here are seven examples when brands tried to get creative with social media marketing, but they failed when they received a backfire.

1. MC Donald’s social media mess: A hashtag received backfires:

MC Donald started a Twitter Campaign on a positive node, using the hashtag, #McDstories which aimed at highlighting heartwarming stories about the Happy Meals. Unfortunately, the promotional campaign proved to be an epic fail when countless people backfired with their horror stories and experiences. “Within an hour, we saw that it wasn’t going as planned. It was negative enough that we set about a change of course.” McDonald’s social media director Rick Wion told

Eventually, Mr. Wion said the company got its hand on controlling the outpouring of tweets and eventually rid of half of the promotional campaign.

Here are some of the worst tweets:


@Muzzafuzza: I haven’t been to McDonalds in years, because I’d rather eat my own diarrhea.

@SkipSullivan: One time I walked into McDonalds and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up.

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2. #myNYPD: Unseen Brutalities of New York Police exposed:

In the urge to receive some love from its public, the New York Police Department commenced a Campaign on Twitter, asking the folks to post photos of themselves with the officers to praise their department. Unexpectedly, it received a huge outburst of inhumane pics which showed the brutalities and the misconduct of the New York Police and other departments.

Before midnight, more than 70,000 tweets containing photos or stories of police brutality flooded the Twittersphere. It was a disaster. ThePolice Commissioner Bill Bratton disputed the idea that the effort was a failure, saying he welcomed the images, and that sometimes police work isn’t pretty.

It received tweets like:

@OccupyWallStNYC: “Free Massages from the #NYPD. What does YOUR Police Department offer?”


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3. Epicurious: Cranberry Scones received criticism

Epicurious, the food website received the wrath of its users when it tried to promote itself on a National Tragedy- the Boston Marathon Bombing.It tweeted to its 386,000 followers:

  • Epicurious “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones.”
  • Epicurious: Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today.”

Epicurious broke a well-known rule in social media: ‘When disaster strikes, shut up.’ And thus, it received a backlash of intolerance very quickly from its annoyed followers with tweets like“Seriously Epicurious who thought these tweets were appropriate? Shame on you,” and “What the hell was Epicurious thinking?”

Ashamed of their activity, Epicurious deleted its tweets and issued apologizing message for its people.


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4. #QantasLuxury:Qantus Airways proved fiasco


Qantas Airways initiated a campaign where it asked its customers to write in about their dream in-flight experiences using the hashtag #QantasLuxury. The notable part of the price they selected were the pyjamas.


Instead of being sent pensive flights of fancy, the airline received a flood of negative posts, mostly concerning the carrier’s industrial disputes with three unions, which resulted in the grounding of the entire Qantas fleet on October 29.

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5. Burger King Disaster:Whopping mess by an unknown ‘hamburger’:

The popular burger franchise fell foul to some hackers who changed Burger King’s account name to McDonald’s and added a new bio that stated,

“Just got sold to McDonalds,” one tweet said. “FREEDOM IS FAILURE.”


This was followed by a string of fake tweets containing racial slurs, obscenities and references to drugs and vulgar messages and images. McDonald’s drew further attention to the dilemma of its opponent by tweeting:

“We sympathize with our @BurgerKing counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.”

The burger King account was suspended by the company as soon as they learnt about the account hack. Also, the company apologized to its customers:

“Earlier today, our official BK Twitter Account was compromised by unauthorized users. Upon learning of this incident, our social media teams immediately began working with Twitter security administrators to suspend the compromised account until we could re-establish our brand’s official Twitter page,” Bryson Thornton, director of global communications at Burger King, said in a statement to the AP. “We apologize to our loyal fans and followers, whom might have received unauthorized tweets from our account. We are pleased to announce that the account is now active again”.

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6. #AskJPM:Twitter Q&A made JPM run

#AskJPM was a promotional hashtag, launched by the American multinational banking company J. P. Morgan to provide college students an opportunity to communicate directly with a senior executive. The hashtag was immediately hijacked upon its launch by the Twitter users, criticizing and insulting the company for its alleged unethical business practices.

Tweets like: #AskJPMDo you like puppies? If you had a puppy, what would you name him? – Matt Levine (@matt_levine) could be seen on the social media.

“#Badidea! Back to the drawing board,” the bank posted less than six hours after its original post, which drew more than 6,000 responses from users in that span.

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7. #Spreadthecheer: Starbucks’ blunderedCampaign

The Starbuck company started a campaign #Spreadthecheer, during the holiday season for its users. The idea behind this campaign was that customers would tweet their holiday cheers using the designated hashtag. However, Starbucks failed to take into consideration their reputation in the news at the time. When Starbucks released this campaign, they were in the midst of being accused of only paying 8.6 pounds in taxes over the past 14 years and there was talk that the company planned to cut paid lunch breaks and maternity leave benefits. Therefore, the public was not interested in the brand during this time.

Unfortunately for Starbucks their upset customers used the #SpreadTheCheer campaign to voice their disgust with the company instead of tweeting holiday cheer.

Here is an example of some of those tweets.


This didn’t end here. To compound the issue, the tweets were presented live at the Natural History Museum in London over the weekend. However, the Museum apologized for the mistake and said that sponsorship deals such as the one with Starbucks helped the museum to put on extra events.

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