Crafting the perfect message or full-fledged advertising campaign can be difficult at times. There are a host of demographic variables to think of clicking the “Post”, “Tweet”, “Pin It” or “Send” buttons. Unfortunately, there are times where even the most prepared social media professionals end up facing the scrutinous wrath of the online community for publishing less-than-savory content.
Here, we take a look back at the year that was and examine some of the absolute worst social media campaigns to have ever graced the social media sphere in 2014.
At a time when the social and racial climate of the U.S. was at a more fevered pitch than usual, with the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Mike Brown at the front of most peoples’ minds, CNN thought it the perfect time to hold a televised forum that discussed the dangers that law enforcement faced in daily work life titled “Cops Under Fire”.
Things didn’t go well on Twitter. Users fired back at the hashtag to a point where CNN was forced to change it to #CopsUnderFire, mid-forum.
Like something out of a Seth Rogen/Paul Rudd movie, the slogan and subsequent hashtag “#DontJerkandDrive” caused Twitter users to revert back to snickering 13-year-olds, and for good reason. The innuendo alone was enough to make the state’s Secretary of Public Safety pull the ads. Ironically, the Don’t Jerk and Drive campaign had become popular enough to outperform every other PSA campaign in the state’s history.
Anyone who has had a constant ear glued to NPR’s true crime podcast “Serial” knows that the heavy subject matter hasn't been something to trifle with. Best Buy must have missed the memo, when they decided to tweet this little number to their more than 616,000 followers.
The tweet was trying to refer to the fact that shortly after strangling Hae Min Lee to death in the parking lot, her ex-boyfriend called his accomplice from a payphone outside of the electronics store. Their message was quickly deleted after the company suffered major backlash from the Twittersphere.
When it comes to having the worst timing, Bill Cosby (or whoever mans his social media accounts) takes the cake. Coming off the revelation that Cosby was involved in the sexual assaults of several women over a 40-year span, Cosby’s camp decided to run a Twitter campaign that asks fans to “Go Ahead, Meme Me!”. This is where things went awry.
The opposition caught wind of this and immediately took it as a challenge to see who could create the most critically scathing memes. People were not merciful.
When the phone maker tried to capitalize on iPhone’s #BendGate hysteria by tweeting “Our smartphones don't bend, they are naturally curved ;),” they failed to take into account that their Twitter client broadcasts where messages are sent from. Let’s just say “Tweet sent from an iPhone” wasn’t the best way to start the Apple-bashing conversation.
Courtesy of the millennials who apparently run American Apparel, one social media guru thought it a good idea to tweet a photo of the grievous shuttle explosion for the Fourth of July. Once the tweet was rescinded, the company apologized and stated that the one responsible “was born after the Challenger disaster and didn’t realize what it was”.
Even though this store in Minnesota isn’t the first business to take advantage of special holidays and commemorative dates, they were definitely the best at being the absolute worst to do so. Their Facebook page boasted a seemingly one-in-a-lifetime offer that promised 25 percent off anything in their store that was black.
What was your most notable social media campaign that missed the mark this year? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.