In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever to communicate with your target market. As a business, you can use social media to inform, advertise and connect with current and potential customers alike. But while it’s a fantastic tool, it can also do serious damage to your reputation if used incorrectly. Here are the Top 5 Social Media Disasters that have affected some of the world’s biggest brands:
Snapchat Offends Countries
Back in 2015, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announced to colleagues that he wasn’t interested in promoting his product overseas.
“This app is only for rich people,” he said. “I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain”.
It was kept quiet for two years – but in April 2017, ex-Snapchat employee Anthony Pompliano decided to spill Spiegel’s controversial statement.
Unsurprisingly, public reaction was overwhelmingly negative, with Snapchat users around the world uninstalling the app, leaving poor ratings on various App stores, and attempting to get #BoycottSnapchat trending on Twitter.
Pepsi were forced to pull a 2017 ad campaign featuring Kendall Jenner after it was widely criticised for its insensitivity.
Basing itself on the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to raise awareness of police brutality towards African-Americans, the ad saw Jenner face off against a row of officers in a way that seemed to replicate the now-iconic photo of protestor Leshia Evans.
“The best example of white and economic privilege/ignorance I’ve ever seen. Never forget Leshia Evans #Pepsi” @Mayaelysee (Twitter)
The company was forced to embarrassingly backtrack, claiming that: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
However, the damage was already done, and both Pepsi and Kendall Jenner will be dealing with the fallout for a long time to come.
Adidas’ monumental mistake
Email subject lines have to be eye-catching and memorable to work – but this example from Adidas was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
The subject line read ‘Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon.’ Doesn’t seem that bad, right? But when the email was sent out to thousands of customers in April 2017, people immediately read it as a reference to the horrific bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon, where 3 people were.
Adidas later apologised via twitter.
Dove spreads racism
Back in October 2017, Dove posted a video promoting their soap product. The video involved a black woman removing her brown t-shirt and transforming into a white woman wearing a white t-shirt.
There was a huge amount of controversy around this when it was released. The advert seemed to portray that her dark skin was ‘dirty’. Social media spread the distasteful promotion around the world, and the company was slated for its racism.
United Airlines’ Major PR FAIL
United Airlines had a tough 2017. A whole list of PR disasters went viral on social media, creating a crisis of brand-threatening proportions.
Two young teenage girls were denied from flying because they were wearing leggings, an Asian-American man was dragged off a plane so that his seat could be given to a crew member, and a pet bunny was killed due to members of staff not following proper procedures.
All in all, it was a perfect social media storm – and one that the firm’s reputation is yet to recover from.
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