It’s critical that the public perceives your company in a positive light, and digital marketing is commonly your first line of defense. However, as the world becomes increasing connected, it’s not uncommon for companies to have some serious missteps.
And believe us, over the years there have been some amazing PR flubs resulting from the way companies treat the digital realm.
Negative Yelp review? No refund for you!
The Union Street Guest House in Manhattan is known for its tasteful design and award-winning dining, but the boutique hotel is also known for a disastrous digital initiative in 2014. Following a string of questionable Yelp reviews, The Union Street Guest House started levying $500 fines against guests if they left a negative review following their stay. Needless to say, once the internet found out, hundreds of users started to spam their Yelp page with negative reviews. The hotel is no longer in business.
The Taylor Swift School for the Deaf
In 2012, thousands of Facebook users hijacked a contest in which the grand prize was a live concert at a school by none other than Taylor Swift. More than 14,000 schools participated, but the overwhelming winner was the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Recognizing the joke, contest organizers removed Horace Mann from the competition, but sponsors and Swift collectively gave the school a $50,000 donation.
Twitter Q&A gets cross-checked
In 2014, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins held a Q&A session for James Neal – a player with a notorious history of brutally cross-checking, kneeing, and elbowing opposing players in the head. The #AskNeal hashtag was instantly flooded with hilarious questions that, like many’s of Neal’s victims, the Penguins did not see coming. These are a few of our favorites:
- If you could go back in time and play with any player in history, which one would you knee in the face?
- James, my roommate stole my food. should I lunge at his head, elbow him in the temple or drive my knee into his skull?
- What favorite memory have you robbed from one of the players you kneed to the head?
- If a tree falls down in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does James Neal still cross check it in the face?
Reddit dethrones Wyclef
Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything) have a history of going terribly wrong for celebrity participants, but the Wyclef Jean AMA earlier in 2016 was far and away one of the worst.
Rather than discussing his successful musical career, Reddit users were much more concerned with Jean’s gross misappropriate of Haiti relief funds through his “non-profit” Yele. It was evident users did their homework, as some even went as far as to itemize expenses, such as $375,000 to cover landscaping costs, $470,000 spend on food and beverages, and $100,000 going directly into Wyclef pocket to perform at a charity event for his Haitian presidency bid.