Metro Social Media Case Study - Mindjumpers (July 09)
The world is changing faster than ever before. We, as
individuals, have never had so much power and
influence on society, politics, and business.
We communicate our opinions with as many people
as possible through various platforms on the Internet.
This has become possible as the world has gone online, and because online media have become
inherently social. We are entering a new era – an era where social media enables the individual to be
The words ‘social media’ are everywhere, but what do they really mean? Mindjumpers defines social
media as; ‘Technologies which facilitate online interaction and conversations between people’.
Technologies in this case refers to several social media platforms with different content, but all sharing
interaction/conversation as a common feature.
How do you, as a business, interact with these new media when it comes to management, marketing,
and corporate communication?
On the following slides you will find an example of the management of a Danish crisis recently played
out through social media..
The Copenhagen Metro, in corporation with several sponsors, recently launched their annual short film
contest, the prize of which is to have the winning film shown on screens throughout Metro stations in the
Copenhagen area. The ultimate purpose of this is to offer both experienced and inexperienced artists the
opportunity to show their work to a large and varied audience, via a new visual space under the streets of
However, the winning film, ‘XY’, determined by a public vote, was rejected by The Metro due to it being of a
homo erotic nature, showing two men kissing. You can watch the film and read more about the case on www.
In an interview with the Danish newspaper Metroexpress, the spokesperson from the Metro, Kåre Møller
Madsen, said, “You could say that we are prude, but we want to protect a minority that would be offended.
The Metro is for everybody. We don’t show violence either.”
This statement sparks online
controversy, and a Facebook group is
created; ‘Fighting the homophobia of
In a matter of days, the group gained
almost 2000 members who discuss
the case, post pictures, and write
open letters to the Metro Company
and the politicians of Copenhagen.
After just three days, the Metro gives in to the protests and the press manager posts the following message
on the wall of the Facebook group;
“As a result of your passionate outcry
the Metro Company is doubting
whether we made the right decision to
exclude the film back in March. We
are therefore now working on showing
all ten films – including the two
containing erotic undertones – on our
stations. We will create a blog at
www.m.dk on which the public is free
to discuss whether the films are
suitable for the public space. This will
probably attract more outcry, but
we’ve decided to make the discussion
As mentioned it is still work in
progress, but I thought you should be
the first to know.
Stine The Metro Company”
The Facebook group members received the Metro Company’s statement poitively;
“Well communicated by Stine
Christmas Nielsen! And a good
example of how a Facebook group
can be used to communicate a debate
directly on the same level from both
“We won! They will show the film! Well
done and congratulations to all the
people that have fought for it..”
“It’s a fantastic piece of work you’ve
done. It’s good on all levels; for the
culture and for our little country. But
it’s scary that Denmark is still on a
Neanderthal level regarding some
A letter from the Mayor of Copenhagen, Ritt Bjerregaard;
Dear Peer Aagaard
Thank you for your letter concerning the short film
from 60 seconds. However, it would appear as if the
problem has been solved in the time it has taken me
to return your letter.
I am happy that the Metro Company has listened to
the criticism and changed their decision about
whether to show the film or not. It is of course wrong
to link homosexual love together with violence. The
two have nothing to do with each other, and I’m
happy that the film will be shown in the Metro.
I am looking forward to the World Outgames in
Copenhagen. In spite of this little incident caused by
the Metro Company, I am sure we will experience
some exciting days of sports and celebrations.
All companies can make mistakes. The Copenhagen Metro thought they made the right decision
when they decided to reject the 60 second film. They thought they were being considerate to the
population, but they neglected to consider freedom of speech, censorship and a large part of the
population who felt violated and neglected by a public organisation – but they were reminded.
The crisis quickly reached the press, with people choosing to boycott trains, hang posters on the
walls of the Metro, and of course the hundreds of people voicing their dissatisfaction with the
Metro via the growing Facebook group.
The Metro admitted that they were wrong. After just three days they reacted to the crisis that was
playing out on the Facebook group – and even more importantly they responded to the criticism
through Facebook, letting them know that it was because of them that they changed their decision.
The Metro responded right where the crisis took root – on Facebook, also promising to create a
blog on their own website where the issue about whether or not the films are suitable for the public
space can be debated (although as I write, it hasn’t happened yet).
The protesting Facebook group members were positive towards the Metro’s response, and the
crisis cooled quickly. The example shows that it pays to monitor social media, listen to the
comments of the public, and respond quickly, ideally at the same point where the crisis originated.
At Mindjumpers, we explore this new world and research how we,
as people and businesses, can interact within it, and maximise its
We like to share our knowledge, which is why you can find stories
and articles from all over the world on mindjumpers.com or on our
Facebook page: facebook.com/mindjumpers, which we update on
a daily basis.
Right now we are working with one of the world’s leading bioinotation companies, Novozymes, for
whom we are doing the campaign, ‘I do 30’. The campaign is primarily run on social media
platforms. You can see more about it at ido30.org or facebook.com/ido30.
If you would like to hear about tailored solutions in marketing, communication or management
through social media you are more than welcome to contact us at email@example.com or on