The recent bombings in Boston were tragic, sad, and another chapter in recent American violence. The whole event was absolutely abhorrent and one we all hope to never see happen again.
We live in a world where there are companies that look to leverage current events. Trending events can often be a good way to drive traffic. Unfortunately some companies don’t know when to just say no.
The uber popular food website Epicurious sent out the following tweets the day of the Boston bombings:
Then after immediate backlash they attempted to apologize for their insensitive promotional tweets with these tweets:
So… what’s going on here? Why on earth would they have thought it ok to promote their product in the same tweet as a message about the bombings? And then, as if to add insult to injury they send out boilerplate apology tweets.
We’re looking at a public relations nightmare. Let this be a lesson to any and all social media rockstars out there. This how NOT to do social media.
So what’s next for Epicurious? Is there a way to salvage their social media reputation?
Mr Media Training had this to say:
1. They can start by engaging with readers individually—and offering human responses instead of form ones.
2. They can learn from KitchenAid’s crisis example from late last year, when that company’s brand manager personally jumped in, stated that the person responsible for the tweets wouldn’t be allowed to represent their brand anymore, and offered on-the-record interviews.
3. They should pledge that they will provide everyone on the staff with social media training; and, if they don’t already have a social media policy, that they will create one immediately.
4. Epicurious should pledge a donation to victims of the Boston tragedy in an effort to make something good come out of this experience.
Brands, affiliates, and social media profiteers have responsibility to uphold on these sites. There’s got to be a line in the sand. Beyond this line you do not cross. Using current events in your marketing is a great idea…just not when it involves a national tragedy. Not now, not ever.