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IP Quick Intellect

#whensocialmediafails - Unintended Consequences of Social Media Campaigns

Posted by on 5 Jun 2015

Many companies love to embrace social media as a marketing tool but there can be some unintended consequences.

The examples below highlight unintended and unwanted negative attention following the launch of a campaign on social media.

Mortein’s Stephanie Scott “tribute”

In an embarrassing social media misstep, Mortein was forced to apologise following backlash in response to a comment and caricature the company posted on its corporate Facebook page.

Mortein intended the post to be an expression of sympathy for murdered teacher Stephanie Scott, however, the company was heavily criticised for exploiting the public’s reaction to the tragedy. Below is a depiction of Mortein’s post:


In an effort to capitalise on #putoutyourdress which allowed people to show support for the victim, Mortein did their own version with the product’s long time mascot, Louie the fly. The post attracted criticism from the public who viewed it as inappropriate and blatant brand promotion. Mortein removed the post and issued a public apology.

Qantas’ failed Twitter feedback campaign

Iconic Australian airline, Qantas, also received an unexpected reaction a few years ago when they launched a Twitter campaign. Designed to encourage people to tweet about their positive experiences onboard Qantas flights, the campaign unfortunately backfired when Qantas was inundated with tweets from disgruntled passengers who had less than perfect in flight experiences.

At the end of the day, social media campaigns can be exciting and innovative way to strengthen your brand. That said, it’s important to double check your messaging and the different ways it can be interpreted so you get the result you want – after all, it’s your reputation on the line.

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