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Social Media Catastrophes and Lessons Learned


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What happens when brands don't approach social media with the right approach? Fallout. This presentation sheds light on some of these catastrophes and what we can learn from them. "90% of the job with social media is being there, it's the other 10% that's tough."

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Social Media Catastrophes and Lessons Learned

  1. 1. Social Media Catastrophes 1 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  2. 2. 2 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  3. 3. Problem: Two employees from an individually owned Domino’s store shot a few videos showing them in the restaurant’s kitchen putting cheese up their nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches and other disgusting and unsanitary acts. The video was then uploaded onto YouTube and reached more than a million views, inciting a social media uproar, particularly on Twitter. A few days after the video surfaced, references to the incident were in five out of the twelve results on Google’s first page when searching “Domino’s”. Video has been removed from YouTube 3 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  4. 4. Response: Domino’s was on top of the situation within 48 hours and the video was taken down by YouTube, but not before it had reached a million views. Although the two employees promised that the food was never actually delivered (and the the video was made as a prank), they were fired and eventually faced felony charges. The franchisee brought in the local health department which advised them to discard all the open containers of food. Domino’s created a Twitter account (@dpzinfo) to address comments and its CEO released a video on YouTube. The company also released an o cial statement on their website admonishing their employees and apologizing to consumers. 4 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  5. 5. Fallout: Tagged by users and the media as “booger-gate”, the repercussions of this social media disaster caused many consumers to boycott the pizza chain. Although the company countered the attack by stating that the health violations portrayed in the video were an isolated incident, consumers were and are still wary of the brand. Domino’s has since launched a sweeping rebranding campaign in an attempt to counter the tarnished image of the company caused by the video. 5 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  6. 6. 6 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  7. 7. Problem: Mars, the maker of Skittles candy, scrapped its home page on the Web and put in its place a collage of content from social networking sites. The hodgepodge included a live Twitter feed, chatter and video from Flickr and YouTube. All the social media feeds were fairly harmless--except the tweets from Twitter. Any tweets hashtagged with #skittles were immediately populated onto their site- leaving the page vulnerable for attack from users. By day two, some of the comments were scalding. Among the most alarming: "F!*K Skittles." It certainly wasn't the reaction Mars expected. 7 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  8. 8. Response: Skittles had a great idea and was on the right track with letting it’s users interact and populate the space, however, there was an absolute lack of boundaries. Although the company put an age restriction on their site (13 years old+), Skittles kept the Twitter feed up for a while before they completely revamped their strategy and their site, moving their social elements to the corner of the page. Where the Social feeds live on the new Skittles website 8 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  9. 9. Fallout: For days, users would be greeted with o ensive and vulgar Tweets on the Skittles website. The complete lack of moderation resulted with the brand getting abused and bashed openly on their own website, with words such as “anal cunt” etc. getting fed directly onto their corporate sponsored site. Considering that children are also part of the Skittles demographic, the strategy was also polarizing and outraged many parents who protested, not allowing their children to visit the site. 9 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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  11. 11. Problem: Greenpeace accuses Nestle of contributing to the extinction of the orangutan by partnering with palm-oil suppliers in Indonesia who were causing deforestation. The organization staged protests and created a microsite where they posted provocative videos against the brand, which showed a worker opening a KitKat look-a-like wrapper and biting into an orangutan finger. Facebook users posted negative comments on Nestle’s brand page, some even changing their profile picture to an altered “Nestle Killer” logo, and flooded Twitter with negative tweets. Some users rallied together and encouraged others to boycott all Nestle products. 11 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  12. 12. Response: Nestle lobbied to have the YouTube video removed and also posted a statement on their website the day the video went live, announcing the termination of the accused supplier. In response to the onslaught of negative posts on their Facebook page, moderators posted: “To repeat: we welcome your comments, but please don’t post using an altered version of any of our logos as your profile pic-- they will be deleted”. This defensive response only enraged users further, creating a second tailspin on an already devastating PR nightmare. Eventually the page apologized to fans for its “rude” responses and stopped deleting comments on the wall. 12 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  13. 13. Fallout: Nestle’s brand was not only attacked by Greenpeace supporters and environmentalists, but also social media users for their mishandling of the entire situation. Many users accused Nestle of censoring Facebook dialogue- a cardinal sin in the social media sphere. Negative sentiment about the company’s association with deforestation even a ected their international market, particularly when Twitter users picked up the story about Nestle’s Facebook bullying strategy. In addition, Indonesian palm-oil suppliers were threatening to also boycott the company for cutting ties with the market. 13 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  14. 14. 14 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  15. 15. Problem:TGI Friday's launched a huge Facebook o er using a fictitious fan named Woody. If self proclaimed number one fan Woody could get 500,000 Facebook fans by 30th September 2009, then the first 500,000 would be entitled to a free Jack Daniels Burger or Jack Daniels Chicken Sandwich. TGI Friday’s was not prepared for the campaign response and after a soft launch on Sept. 2 and a subsequent e-mail campaign, Woody picked up 80,000 friends, even before TV and digital banners were launched Sept. 7. By Sunday, Sept. 13, Woody hit the proposed 500,000 Facebook fan mark... Just 11 days after the campaign commenced. 15 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  16. 16. Response: Facing a mutiny of ravenous consumers, TGIF did little more than extended the o er to a million fans in order to silence the voices of the angry new “fans.” FAQ for frustrated Woody’s responses “fans” 16 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  17. 17. Fallout:TGI Friday’s was unprepared for the extreme response. They couldn’t keep up with the coupon demand created by the overwhelming acquisition of new fans and, in turn, disappointed their captive audience... What sounded like a great idea in theory turned into a forum for angry fans to vent their frustrations with no moderation. 17 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  18. 18. Fallout: Once the promotion was over, TGI Friday’s pulled down the Woody page and abandoned all the fans their promotion had recruited. TGI Friday’s launched a campaign with a fictional fan, violating social media tenants of authenticity and transparency and ultimately did nothing more than bribe fans to join their page. TGI Fridays seemed to have no long term objective of how to engage these fans once they were acquired. Woody’s Facebook Fan Growth 1,000,000 800,000 600,000 400,000 200,000 0 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 Woody (T.G.I.F.) T.G.I.F used incentives to gain their “Woody” fans. 18 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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  20. 20. Problem: A groundswell of outrage, concern and confusion sprang up in response to what authors and others believed was a decision by Amazon to remove "adult" titles from its sales rankings in April, 2009. Hundreds of gay-and lesbian-themed books suddenly disappeared from’s rankings which caused an uproar among authors and activists who alleged it was a stealthy extension of the company’s policy concerning adult content. 20 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  21. 21. Response: The internet bookseller claimed it was the result of a technical "glitch” and did not o er any other statements or interactions. Fallout: Not addressing such a volatile issue left too much room for the problem to escalate in the social space. Authors were outraged and readers vowed to never use the web-service again, joining together in their anger. 21 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  22. 22. 22 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  23. 23. Problem: In a promotion financed by KFC, Oprah Winfrey o ered a free chicken dinner coupon on her website... The response was overwhelming. Consumer response created an online tra c jam as many rushed to download the coupon before 9:59 p.m. central time May 6. As KFCs around the country were inundated with customers, bloggers and tweeters complained about long lines and stores refusing the coupons. 23 Tuesday, April 27, 2010
  24. 24. Response: KFC posted an apology tweet, including dozens of replies to Twitter complaints. KFC also issued 6.5 million rain checks that included a free cup of Pepsi. Fallout: El Pollo Loco took advantage of KFC's troubles by o ering to honor the Oprah 2 Piece Meal coupon on Mother's Day, a day excluded in the coupon's May 5 - May 19 window. El Pollo Loco will give one free two-piece flame-grilled chicken meal per customer with the coupon on May 10. Not only did KFC infuriate coupon holders, but they were one-upped by a competitor. 24 Tuesday, April 27, 2010