3.2 billion people, or about 42 percent of the population, use social media every single day.
If you think that’s just millennials, you’d be wrong — although they do make up a majority. 77.5 percent of Gen Xers are included in that number, as well as 48.2 percent of baby boomers.
So it’s pretty much a guarantee that social media fails get noticed immediately.
In those 2 hours and 22 minutes we spend per day on social media, we’re bound to see some questionable things. And those things tend to go viral, whether because they’re controversial, confusing, or downright offensive.
Are you fine-tuning your social media campaign? Wondering what mistakes to avoid in the process? Then learn from the mistakes of these reputable companies who made some major errors!
1. Would You Rather: Delete Snapchat or See Ads like This?
Snapchat suffered from a significant oversight in one of the games they offer on their platform: Would You Rather.
We’ve all loved this game since we were kids, but their version took a questionable turn. As users scrolled through ads on their app, one such ad came up for a Would You Rather game. The question they were asking?
Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?
Rihanna, for obvious reasons, didn’t take kindly to this slight towards domestic violence. Snapchat removed the ad and offered an immediate apology, but the damage was done. Rihanna posted a story on her Instagram, shaming the company for such a thoughtless ad.
Her Instagram story alone cost the company almost $1 billion. It’s safe to say that no business can afford that.
2. That Time Starbucks Confused Us
A social media fail doesn’t necessarily have to be offensive to be a fail. Being too vague is another major issue. With social media, you’re trying to convey a message — and when that message gets lost, people notice.
Starbucks introduced a new Blonde Espresso, and they wanted the world to know it. So they placed an ad for the espresso on their social media, and people were like — huh?
See for yourself:
Introducing Starbucks Blonde Espresso
Who says espresso has to be intense?
We have for 43 years.
But we’re Starbucks Coffee Company.
So we did the exact opposite.
Did you translate?
Our best guess is that they were trying to convey that the blonde espresso is a touch less intense than what consumers are used to.
The main message here? Be clear when delivering your own message.
3. A Major Oversight by Dove
Dove, the behemoth of soap, body lotion, and more, typically focuses on positive body image for all shapes, sizes, races, and standards. But one of their Facebook ads severely missed the mark, offending women from all these boxes.
The ad in question is one for Dove’s body lotion. It shows a black woman using the lotion, smiling into the camera. She reaches for the bottom of her shirt, lifting it to reveal a white shirt underneath — attached to the body of a white woman.
It made it look like the lotion would change your skin color. The company was, obviously, accused of racism by people of all races. This oversight “missed the mark” by not representing the range of beauty they typically do.
Their apology didn’t do much for viewers, either. “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.”
But the damage was done. Social media users called for a boycott of the company’s products. Dove’s mea culpa saw a whopping 3,000 responses that proved their apology was too little, too late.
4. A Disaster of a Celebration
Americal Apparel should be careful about what they allow their social media managers to post! On July 4th of 2014, theirs posted a photo that got people riled up — especially those with sad memories of the Challenger explosion.
In an attempt to celebrate July 4th, their Tumblr page issued an image of the devastating Challenger disaster. Their excuse? Their social media manager was born after the 1986 explosion.
It’s not clear why the image got posted — perhaps it was mistaken for fireworks? — but people took notice. They apologized for the post’s insensitivity and quickly removed it.
But as you’ve seen by now, this was not enough for those who took major offense to the disheartening lapse in judgment.
5. DiGiorno’s Humor Got Lost in Translation
These companies should know better — but it seems that many of them have some insensitive employees on board. And their version of “humor” gets severely lost in translation.
Take DiGiorno, for example.
NFL player Ray Rice and his wife, Janay Palmer Rice, were involved in a domestic violence dispute that made media headlines. Janay stayed with him and tweeted out her reasons why, followed by the hashtag #WhyIStayed.
Of course, her reasons ran deeper than the following tweet by DiGiorno.
With such a trending hashtag, DiGiorno wanted to take a bite and steal some shine for themselves. Unfortunately for them, they got the wrong kind of limelight.
Their subsequent tweet said, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” This looks bad for many reasons, one of them being their insensitivity towards domestic violence (à la Snapchat). They deleted the tweet and claimed they didn’t know what the hashtag even meant before they posted it.
The lesson learned? Do your research.
Whatever You Do, Avoid These Social Media Fails
As you can see, the internet doesn’t forget.
If you commit one of these social media fails, you can delete the tweet — but you can’t delete the countless screenshots, retweets, articles, and angry posts about it. It’s best to carefully plan your every social media move and avoid these fiascos altogether.
Here at Moose May, we can assist with that.
Contact us today to see how we can help you conquer all your digital marketing tasks — error-free!