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The Worst Twitter Fails
of 2013 & What We Can Learn From Them

Written by Andy Parmann, 3 years ago, 0 Comments
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For the past few years, we’ve heard about brands making mistakes on Twitter. I wrote this article to look back at these oversights and see what we can learn from them. EPIC Creative® has compiled a list of our favorite Twitter fails of 2013 and figure out how to avoid making mistakes like these at all costs.

January – HMV – @HMVtweets
In January, HMV Retail, a large retailing company from the UK, was going through a transitional period and was forced to layoff thousands of employees. One employee opted to live-tweet the mass-layoff using the hashtag #hmvxfactorfiring. This was not one of the classier live twitter feeds of the year.

“There are over 60 of us being fired at once! Mass execution, of loyal employees who love the brand. #hmvXFactorFiring

February – American Airlines – @AmericanAir
In mid-February, American Airlines was in the spotlight for politely replying to every tweet they received, no matter the context. Insulting tweets were responded to with a scripted thank you message. What’s messed up is that the responses didn’t come from a bot. Someone was actually responding to every message.

February – Burger King – @BurgerKing and Jeep – @Jeep
Burger King and Jeep were hacked back-to-back and in similar fashion this past February. Both of their profile pictures were changed to reflect a competitor and both accounts mocked themselves, gave shout-outs to rappers and mentioned Philadelphia. All of this could have been avoided with a stronger password. Personally, this was my favorite Twitter fail of the year.

“You’ll never catch @50cent ridin in a Dirty Ass @Jeep !!!! #ForDaLuLz #FreeJeep”

April – Epicurious
Epicurious is a site dedicated to offering recipes and cooking tips. Who doesn’t love recipes about morning breakfast cereals? Well, most likely the families of the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing. It’s bad enough that they made the post, but then they fed the trolls by apologizing to individual tweets with a scripted reply.

“Boston, our hearts are with you. Here’s a bowl of breakfast energy we could all use to start today: epi.us/LJGHa8”

July – Bank of America
Here’s a simple one: don’t act like a bot. In July, activist Mark Hamilton tweeted about getting chased away by the NYPD for his chalk-art outside of the Bank of America headquarters. Bank of America replied to him (and his massive following of activists who tweeted to the corporation) with the scripted tweet below.

“Hi Mr. [Last name], I work for Bank of America. What happened? Anything I can do to help? ^sa”

September – Kenneth Cole – @KennethCole
Don’t cash in on tragedy. To capitalize on the war in Syria, Kenneth Cole published a distasteful tweet reminding fans of his line of footwear. This wasn’t the first time Kenneth Cole had been in the hot seat for a tweet. He had a similar backlash when insinuating the uproar in Cairo was in regard to their new spring line.

““Boots on the ground” or not, let’s not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear”

Later, in an Instagram response, Cole claimed, “I’ve always used my platform to provoke dialogue about important issues,” but the damage was already done.

November – J.P. Morgan – @JPMorgan
The bigger the brand, the harder they fall. In November, J.P. Morgan thought it would be a good idea to engage with its followers in midst of a $13 billion settlement over its questionable mortgage practices. The brand canceled its scheduled Q&A only hours after announcing it.

“Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.”

December – SpaghettiOs – @SpaghettiOs
At the beginning of December, SpaghettiOs tweeted to its fans to remember Pearl Harbor. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the brand didn’t add a photo of its smiley cartoon mascot holding an American flag.

Let’s review what we learned in 2013.

  • Don’t cash in on tragedy
  • Don’t use bots
  • Don’t act like a bot
  • Don’t feed trolls
  • Secure your passwords
  • Monitor, monitor, monitor
  • The bigger the brand, the harder they fall
  • Use common sense

I predict we’ll see far less Twitter blunders this year. We, as an industry, have taken these case studies, dissected them, and pulled out nuggets of useful info to learn from. Mix in some common sense and you have the preventative measures you need to avoid a Twitter train wreck.

Which of these fails was your favorite and what takeaways did you find most valuable? Discuss with us.

About Andy Parmann

EPIC Creative's Social Media Specialist.