Peter VanRysdam / Digital Marketing / February 7th, 2011

Middle East Unrest + Social Media Intern = Brand Fail

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the Kenneth Cole Twitter faux paus. No? Well in short, an overzealous intern decided to play off of the buzz around the #cairo hashtag to plug their new spring line. Picture below:

While this just happened last week, it is by no means a new story. In fact, there seems to be a trend with tweeting interns at big brands hijacking middle east hashtags. Remember my post about Habitat UK’s Iran tweet? That was June of 2009 when an intern used hashtags like #iranelection to push a 20% off coupon at the furniture retailer’s website. What the harm in profiting off a fudged election by an oppressive regime anyway? Apparently it’s frowned upon.

So what’s the lesson here? It’s simple. If you were given an opportunity to talk about your brand to 10,000 people (Kenneth Cole’s current twitter following), would you send in your head of marketing/communications, or a summer intern? That’s exactly what you’re doing if you’re leaving a temp in charge of your social media accounts. When will brands recognize the reach social media marketing offers? Apparently when it lands you on the front page of every blog in the industry.
If only they’d read chapter 7 of my book, Joining – Not Controlling – The Conversation. Did I mention it’s available on Kindle?

  • Lauren

    Wow, I had not heard about that until I visited Social Fresh. First off, you would think that interns would have better since, but I guess that’s why they’re interns. I always try to be careful about what I say on Twitter, and even my personal Facebook account, even though my readers can’t reach me there (I have separate FB fan page for my blog). There were a couple times I tweeted something I wished I hadn’t, and even though I deleted the tweets, I know somebody still saw them. So now, I make sure that what I’m saying on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, or any social media outlet, is an honest representation of myself and not me trying to act in a way that I know isn’t who I really am.

  • wonderboy

    F*のCKIN?ここで恐ろしいもの。私は?あなたの記事をピアに非常にハッピーメートル。本当にありがとうございましたそして、私はあなたに触れるために見て進むを取っている。 アジャンジュディのベストプラクティスをあなたは親切に私にメールをドロップします?