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By Margaret Yekulis • @myekulis
As many may remember, Chrysler debuted a pretty powerful commercial during the Super Bowl. The two minute ad featured rapper Eminem, but more importantly, it took a look at the resurgence happening right now in Detroit. As someone originally from the Motor City area, I was excited to see a company finally putting Detroit in good light for the world to see. The hard working people. The fighting spirit that’s gotten the city through tough times. And the slogan? Imported From Detroit. Because no, luxury doesn’t have to come from the biggest cities in the world. But about two months after the commercial ran, Chrysler ended up having some damage control to deal with.
It’s not the first time something controversial has happened in social media. Someone tweeting or posting something that gets people a bit agitated happens all the time. But this one wasn’t meant to be posted, at least not through a corporate account. A tweet was sent out through Chrysler’s Twitter feed last week that was rather questionable, and completely off message for Chrysler’s new campaign. The tweet stated "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to drive." There was of course an expletive thrown in there to make matters worse. The tweet was taken down, but it was too late. Many had already retweeted it, wondering why on earth a company like Chrysler would post something like that. Many questioned whether or not Chrysler could have done something more creative with the bad situation they were presented with, instead of immediately tweeting that their account was compromised. But in the end, the person in question, as well as the company handling the account, was fired and Chrysler has since been on damage control, trying to run their account themselves. Unfortunately, while they did gain several followers after the incident, lack of creativity in their social presence since has resulted in a loss of followers.
Then there’s the case of the company spokesperson. Getting a celebrity to tweet or talk about your brand can generally lead to more interest in your company. Take SmartWater, for example. Their spokesperson is actress Jennifer Aniston, who recently created a video with the perfect formula for going viral (puppies and double rainbow guy included). The idea that they were intending to make this video go viral got them plenty of attention and over 7 million views as of today. We’ve even had our own brush with a celebrity helping to nearly triple one of our clients Twitter following as well as see an increase in engagement.
But then there’s the dark side of celebrity spokespeople. In the wake of the ongoing tragic events in Japan, Gilbert Gottfried, spokesman for Aflac (yup, he’s the voice of the duck) made some pretty ugly jokes about Japan. While he deleted the tweets and apologized, the damage had been done. Even if you immediately delete a tweet once it’s been sent, with as many followers as Gottfried has, it can and was retweeted immediately, and spread to media outlets just as fast. As a result, Gottfried was fired immediately from Aflac, and the company is now doing damage control, ending all of their commercials featuring his voice.
And lest we forget, a tweet that came from the head of a company itself, Kenneth Cole. Cole sent a tweet through his namesake company’s Twitter feed in the wake of riots in Egypt, trying to capitalize for his spring collection. The tweet quickly caused a stir and an apology was issued
Wow, what an interesting article. While Social Media is an important and free tool, it should be closely monitored, especially when reputation is on the line. Not only true for comapnies, but also personal reputation.
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