One of the main focuses of AlexNoudelman.com is to highlight instances of best practice and excellence in the digital marketing world. But every so often it’s also a splendid idea to closely examine the mistakes that people and big brands make, particularly when it comes to social media management and social media marketing. Here are the top ten recent social media gaffes that could have been avoided and we shall never repeat:
10. Amy’s Baking Company
Amy’s Baking Company is a restaurant located Scottsdale, Arizona and is owned by Amy & Samy Buzaglo. The restaurant was featured in a grueling episode of Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares”, where Ramsay walked away without finding a solution to the restaurant’s problem. When the episode prompted a wave of negative feedback from viewers and restaurant patrons, the restaurant’s two owners took to Facebook in one of the most psychotic and bizarre public rants. Amy simply refused to take advice from Gordon Ramsay and was too delusional to be helped. The restaurant is still open for business.
On Nov. 30, 2013, Fast and the Furious fans lost an icon – Paul Walker was killed in a horrific car crash. Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department investigators said that speed and alcohol were factors that lead to the crash. The next day, 4AutoInsuranceQuote.com repeatedly tweeted that it hoped he had auto insurance. Ouch!
8. U.S. Airways
In April 2014, U.S. Airways accidentally tweeted a photo of a completely nude woman on her back with a plane inserted in her private parts. The tweet was on the airline company’s feed for close to an hour. The tweet was originally supposed to thank a customer for her feedback. U.S. Airways apologized for the gaffe, but did not explain how the incident occurred. Perhaps, the account was hacked.
7. Jenny Craig
In 2012, Jenny Craig sponsored Kyle Sandiland’s radio show, a host who became famous for his sexist comments. When people became irate and railed on the company with the hashtag #jennycraig, the company made the mistake of defending its actions. Jenny Craig tried to control the bad publicity by pulling its ads from the show and starting the hashtag #tellkylewhatyouthink to deflect the outcry.
6. Kenneth Cole
The mishap occurred because of a mistake Kenneth Cole, than man, made himself. He tweeted an insensitive joke about the revolution in Egypt with the #Cairo hashtag. His customers were not amused and the rest of the day was spent criticizing Cole and the brand.
The CEO of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons, released a video of him shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe and posted it on his social media channels. PETA responded by shutting down its account with GoDaddy and asking others to do the same.
4. Burger King
Burger King started a Facebook contest called the “Whopper Sacrifice” in 2009. If a user de-friended 10 of their Facebook friends, they would get a coupon for a free Whopper. This caused a lot of dismay and confusion because Facebook is all about connecting with your friends.
3. The Onion
The Onion’s take on the day’s breaking news blurs the line between things that are edgy and things that are plain offensive. The editors and publishers remain determinedly unapologetic for their crimes. In 2013, they took their jokes to far by tweeting about 9 year old actress Quvenzhane Wallis during the Oscars, calling her a c**t.
Angered HMV employees took over the company’s official Twitter account on In January 2013 to convey their extreme dissatisfaction at being fired by the ailing British retailer. HMV’s administrators declined to comment on the rumours, but did confirm that 190 redundancies had been made across the company’s head office and distribution network.
McDonald’s sponsored the hashtag #McDStories in January 2012, asking its followers, fans, and patrons to tweet in about positive dining experiences at its restaurants. Instead, respondents joked about obesity and dog food. The entire campaign backfired on the largest fast food restaurant in the world.
About Alex Noudelman & iRISEmedia
Alex Noudelman is a Toronto Digital Marketing Executive at iRISemedia.com. He received his Honors B.A. from York University and a Masters in Adolescent Education from D’Youville College.
iRISEmedia.com is a web design, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and online reputation management firm in Toronto, Canada. Our team helps clients increase their reach and profitability by developing and implementing customized and targeted online and social media marketing strategies. We service clients in Toronto, Ontario, the GTA and throughout Canada as well as globally.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Alex Noudelman