The Biggest Social Media Marketing Disasters of 2012

Big brands are complete experts at marketing and social media right? Wrong.

It seems that those people who keep popping up on my twitter to announce to the world they are unemployed yet then bitch about a company’s application process are not as completely clueless as I once thought.

After all, with some of the corkers we’ve got in today’s round up it makes a facebook ‘rape’ that changes your status so you appear to be engaged to your brother look like a glowing reference.

While we are in no doubt that the brands in our ‘you suck at social media awards’ would like their blunders to be forever forgotten in cyber space, we shall drag their names through the mud once again for our own educational benefit.

So let us judge and impart derisive head shakes whilst basking in the knowledge that even if you’ve spilt hot coffee on your boss this morning, photocopied your behind or done anything else to foil your chances of being employee of the month, at least you’re not the social media manager for one of these corporate giants.

Be Aware if You’re a Marmite Type Brand

2012 saw McDonald’s come up with a nice little hashtag #McDStories. The theory was that people could post lovely little stories about how McDonald’s has massively enriched their lives and not their waistlines.

Talk about pouring petrol on flames, if someone makes an unscrupulous twitter comment regarding #cutepuppies they’re nothing short of a monster, throw a controversial fast food restaurant in the mix and all our memories (good but mostly bad) of the plastic seats that adorn McDonald’s come flooding back (we know they’re only comfortable for 15 minutes, screw you capitalism!)

There was this one time I actually bit into a bone that was in my chicken sandwich… I still wake up in a cold sweat at the memory of that crunch… Sorry McDonald’s but it’s on my mind now, I believe we can call this exhibit A.

Some gems for you:


My memories of walking into a McDonald’s: the sensory experience of inhaling deeply from a freshly-opened can of dog food


One time I walked into McDonald’s and I could smell type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up

McDonald’s have admitted this ploy didn’t quite go to plan. When I’ve stopped laughing at the above comments (in a month) I’d be inclined to agree.

Don’t Use Natural Disasters to Promote a Brand

Common sense to most but apparently not to American Apparel and Gap. Go shopping to pass the time during a hurricane? Well what a fantastic idea to stop the public worrying about their homes. Oh yes, and their lives.

A shocker from @Urban Outfitters:

This storm blows (but free shipping doesn’t)! Today only…

Like I said don’t use other peoples misfortunes to promote a brand, it’s just so tasteless. By the way are any of you struggling with your business? Eating beans every night? Your wife threatening to leave? Get in touch with Fluid today for all your digital needs…

Hire employees on the sole basis of them being able to distinguish between their OWN twitter account and that of the COMPANY

Ah the digital age, given that most people’s pet dogs even have an online presence, it’s important to remember that the power of social media can cause years of careful branding and marketing to be undone in a second. Take someone with a bug bear, nothing to lose, or is simply a bit ditzy on the old account handling front and disaster ensues.

A StubHub employee tweeted along the lines of:


Thank goodness it’s Friday! Can’t wait to escape the non stimulating environment in which I work!

(Insert original naughty words as desired…  Let’s keep it clean people)

I mean how stupid are these people? By the way have you seen my latest tweet? It’s all about how at Fluid we don’t have a biscuit tin which I think is disgraceful…

The moral of this tale: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

It’s Nice to be Important, but it’s Important to be Nice

Although contracts are contracts and we all know trying to claw our way out of one of those 24 month strait jackets is harder to achieve than an escape from Azkaban, but just a little hint, if you are being completely EVIL, people will find out.

It is my personal belief that gyms are secret geniuses that thrive on human nature, tie them into an 18 month contract and *evil cackle* after two weeks they will never set foot in the place again. Result! A desirable quiet and peaceful gym that technically has 1 billion members.

But anyway, when the guardian received a letter from a heavily pregnant woman regarding her LA Fitness gym membership all hell broke loose. Despite her husband losing his job, the couple were still tied to their membership by the customer orientated chain. Adding insult to injury the couple had also moved 12 miles away from the gym and were struggling to make ends meet. Luckily LA Fitness were the model of kindness and understanding. Oh wait no, they penny pinched like crazy until a band of angry twitter followers boycotted them.

La Fitness shall wear the ‘petty’ crown and the ‘heartless’ wreath for years to come.

I really should have called this post ‘ego boost’; it really is satisfying to know you’ll probably never screw up your social media marketing this badly. Go on stick it on your fridge.

If you need help with your social media get in touch with SEO Manchester experts Fluid, we know the good stuff and promise to never tweet anything that isn’t incredibly witty or traffic inducing.

Victoria Browne
  • Written by on 14th January 2013 at 11:35
  • “Victoria Browne is a copywriter & social campaigns manager at Fluid Creativity.”
  • Google+