Their response was somewhat believable (to me) because I know social media can be difficult for a brand to manage. Still, knowing that some brands purposely try to capitalize on current news events, I decided to press a little further:
@melanienathan her picture was randomly selected during our weekly search.— HeroCertifiedBurgers (@HeroBurgers) September 10, 2015
@melanienathan again, it was a random selection. Didn’t research her history – just saw the picture. We don’t condone those actions — HeroCertifiedBurgers (@HeroBurgers) September 10, 2015It was then that I realized that this brand didn’t have a CLUE who Nicole Arbour was, that their tweet had all been an unfortunate coincidence, and that somebody obviously didn’t do their homework. Nicole had simply tweeted a picture to enter their #HeroOfTheWeek contest at one point, and they just happened to select her to win, not knowing about her recent fat shaming scandal.
Mistakes do indeed happen. Though a quick Google of the winner’s name would have been sufficient to avoid this whole situation. Unfortunately, and such is the risk when your social media team isn’t experienced, other people were starting to notice their mistake as well:
@melanienathan thanks for keeping us up to date. Mistakes happen.— HeroCertifiedBurgers (@HeroBurgers) September 10, 2015
The most embarrassing Canadian since Rob Ford is the ignorant bigot: @NicoleArbour @HeroBurgers Not a great way to emerge from obscurity. — Scott Clements (@SCLondonEditor) September 10, 2015
@HeroBurgers You do realize she is a domestic abuser and a bully, glade to see a company support stuff like that smh — I_Walk_The_Dead (@Alpha_87) September 10, 2015It was at this point that I decided to move the conversation to a private message where I gave them some advice on how to handle their situation. I advised them to apologize, retract their tweet and hold a twitter contest where the winner gets the prize that WOULD have been awarded to Nicole Arbour. I’m happy to see that they took my advice seriously:
We absolutely do not condone Ms Arbour’s actions or her views. — HeroCertifiedBurgers (@HeroBurgers) September 10, 2015
Best original tweet about positive body image wins a Free 4oz #HeroBurger combo. #bepositive#allnaturalhero — HeroCertifiedBurgers (@HeroBurgers) September 10, 2015What brands can learn from this:
- Never (ever!) hit send/publish/update or tweet without doing your research first (no matter HOW insignificant you believe your content to be).
- If your brand messes up, own it, and then make it right.
- Your brand’s online reputation is too important, and it’s way to easy to make mistakes, to be in the hands of someone with little or no experience.