Hashtag backlash: marketing campaigns that turned into social media disasters

 Hashtage #fail

In the lead-up to Anzac Day, Woolworths launched the commemoration website “Fresh in Our Memories”, a play on the supermarket’s “fresh food people” slogan. People were encouraged to upload war-related photos and tributes to the site, which would automatically add the Woolworths logo and the Fresh in Our Memories catchphrase to them. Using the hashtag #FreshInOurMemories, Twitter users were quick to call out the supermarket for being disrespectful and insensitive. The then minister for veterans affairs, Michael Ronaldson, was among those who complained, and the site was taken down.

Read the full story here – there are more stories like this, all from Australia in this case.

There are some real idiots out there. Private Eye runs a regular column called ‘Desperate Marketing’ that highlights this sort of thing – famous person dies, or terrorist incident occurs, and out come the press releases selling everything from double glazing or, in the case of the Paris attacks, wine. It’s not a recent phenomenon, but social media makes it easier to do, and these things should always be slept on.

My favourite is still #Susanalbumparty.

Can Twitter reinvent itself with packaged news before it gets sold?

There is journalism before Twitter and journalism after Twitter. No single company has ever had the power to report and disseminate events with the speed and geographic reach of the network. America holds its first television debate for Democratic candidates, Donald Trump livetweets it. If London Bridge is closing down, Twitter provides the eyewitness reports and pictures ahead of the broadcast news media. Journalists when they wake in the morning don’t first switch on the radio, they reach for their smartphones and scroll through Twitter. Their subjects and sources, from politicians to pop stars, do the same. While the vast majority of the social network-using world is on Facebook (1.2 billion active users versus Twitter’s 300 million), and its children are on Snapchat, the free press is still rowdily assembling on Twitter

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Welcome to Jun, the town that ditched bureaucracy to run on Twitter

Elena Almagro was cleaning floors when she was nine, and didn’t learn to read or write because her family were too poor to send her to school. Now in her 60s, Elena says she never thought she would be able to use Twitter when the mayor started to encourage her. “He said I should enrol on a training course, and I thought I was visiting the moon when I saw all the computers and equipment in there,” she said. Encouraged by her nine-year-old grandson, they both learned Twitter and decided it would be useful. She tweets during town meetings, she says. “And when I tweet to the mayor, he answers back. It makes me feel my tweets matter. I thought old people couldn’t learn how to use this but we can. There was a man of 90 in the training centre! And I’ve been using it to tweet about herbs and recipes.”

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So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed review – Jon Ronson on rants and tweets

Near the end of last year, the Labour MP Emily Thornberry was sacked from the shadow cabinet after tweeting a picture of a house draped in English flags with the words “Image from #Rochester”. Not long afterwards, the Twitter account of Ukip’s South Thanet branch berated the BBC for filming a vox pop in front of “a mosque in London”. The building in question was actually Westminster Cathedral. No one was ejected from Ukip as a result. So it’s OK to say that a cathedral is a mosque, but if you say that a house is in a particular town, you must be fired.

Read the full story here