With only a week to go until the 2016 IMPRAs and now IMPRC, we continue to share our industry do's and don'ts in the lead up to the event! Our Executive Director, Mark Huxley, who will be speaking at the IMPRC, has put together a list of his favourite business communication fails that are sure to keep you on your toes.
Golden Arches #McHaters have their day, well the best part of two hours
Back in 2012, food chain McDonald's launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #McDStories. We are sure in their heads they thought this would be something nice and lighthearted where customers would have no issues in extolling the virtues of their cuisine.
Within the first two hours though, they could have no doubt that this was far from what was happening. With the perfect Launchpad, a barrage of negativity hijacked the campaign and filled their Twitter feed with anti-McDonald's tales. These are just a few of the more printable tweets:
Dude, I used to work at McDonald’s. The#McDStoriesI could tell would raise your hair.
One time I walked into McDonald's and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up. #McDStories
These #McDStories never get old, kinda like a box of McDonald’s 10 piece Chicken McNuggets left in the sun for a week
The promoted TT of #McDStories isn’t going the direction I think @mcdonalds wanted it to go. Lots of weed stories and heart attack jokes.
Ate a McFish and vomited 1 hour later….The last time I got McDonald's was seriously 18 years ago in college….. #McDstories
#McDStories I lost 50lbs in 6 months after I quit working and eating at McDonald’s
What perhaps made this doubly worse for them was that they had paid for this to be a promoted campaign on Twitter. Having pulled the campaign straight off, it did re-emerge and a quick check on #McDStories now shows something a lot more balanced.
When Mastercard got a #PricelessSurprise they really were not expecting
As what must have been a showpiece sponsorship for MasterCard, they were the headline sponsors of the 2014 Brit Awards. Celebrating the best of British music, the Awards were broadcast live to the nation on television and, while happening, became one of the UK’s strongest trending threads across social media. As a tie-in to this, they were promoting their campaign to provide a money-can’t-buy experience across Twitter for their customers to meet their idols. Quite literally a #PricelessSurprise.
However, with what could be described as a money-shouldn’t-buy piece of campaigning, the PR company retained to manage the Brit Awards sponsorship for MasterCard offered a national newspaper journalist press accreditation in exchange for publishing a series of tweets promoting the campaign, before, during and after the event. Tweets that were pre-written by the PR agency. Outraged, the conditions imposed upon the journalist were themselves posted and an ensuing Twitter storm raged, diverting attention completely from what was an entirely laudable cause by MasterCard. The effect of which rumbled on for some time, supported by a number of highly influential people, perhaps best exampled by this tweet from British broadcasting veteran Jon Snow of Channel 4 News.
Donald got Trump-ed
We finish with Donald Trump, who is never far from a headline.
Comedian Philip Bradbury posted on Twitter using the handle of “Feckhead”. He posted and directed a tweet to Donald Trump saying “My parents who passed away always said you were big inspiration”. He then asked Donald Trump to retweet the message, which would mean it being broadcast it to the 2.7m followers he had at that time (which has since grown to 4.6m).
What Trump didn’t realise was that the picture the tweet included of his supposed parents was in fact a picture of the notorious killers, Fred and Rosemary West! Clearly unaware of who these people were and not put off by the "Feckhead" Twitter handle, he innocently did as was requested.
Trump quickly learned of his mistake and rebutted with his own tweet: “Some jerk fraudulently tweeted that his parents said I was a big inspiration to them + pls RT—out of kindness I retweeted. Maybe I’ll sue.” Trouble was that his RT had received 5,000 shares, so in the vernacular had gone “viral”. In a postscript to this tweet, two years later and checking on his Twitter feed, Bradbury is still bathing in the reflective glory of his work, with there being an active level of tweeting still happening.
The most important point here is to always think before acting on social media. Every second, on average 6,000 tweets are posted, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year. Tales such as these are therefore extremely rare and with channels such as Twitter maturing rapidly, the thought and planning now given to the what, when and by whom posts are made means examples such as these are getting rarer still. Social Media, including Twitter, really should be an important part of any business’s communication armoury and the power of its reach should not be underestimated.
Stay tuned for more daily industry insights from our team up until June 10th!
You can also find out more about the IMPRC programme and Mark’s presentation here.