BIGGEST Social Media Fails By Companies
The worst and biggest social media fails by companies! These are the most cringeworthy brand mistakes and corporate advertising blunders to blow up online.
From skin-tone swapping soap ads to women’s tortilla chips, today we look at 8 of the BIGGEST Social Media Fails By Companies.
#8 Adidas Boston Survival
Time heals all wounds, but in the case of the 2017 Boston Marathon, it hadn’t been nearly long enough for the phrasing Adidas used in a post-race email. Sent from Adidas to participants after the 121st annual race, the email read “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” Though seemingly innocuous out of context, this message came only 4 years after the tragic events that left more than 260 people injured. This use of “survived” would immediately spark an online uproar as recipients began posting screenshots of the email title across Twitter.
A spokesman for Adidas would go on to tell TIME magazine, “We are incredibly sorry. Clearly, there was no thought given to the insensitive email subject line(…).” Adidas apologized for the mistake, recognizing the Boston Marathon as “one of the most inspirational” events across the globe and a beacon of “hope and resiliency.” In the long run, this gaffe wouldn’t harm Adidas’ relationship with the event as they continue to be one of the top four sponsors of the Boston Marathon.
#7 United Airlines in 2017
When it comes to corporate advertising on social media, there’s a chance that one poor choice will have repercussions as limited as an hour of public backlash. Or it can go the exact opposite direction as it did for United Airlines in 2017. On April 9, aboard a flight chartered from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, the airline surprised passengers with the announcement that some customers would need to catch a later flight…to make room for more United employees. The flight was overbooked and no volunteers presented themselves, so the crew decided to attempt selecting which customers would need to find a later flight on their own.
Upon learning of this decision, 69-year-old Elizabethtown resident Dr. David Dao refused to give up his seat. In response, the flight crew called law enforcement to forcibly remove the passenger, an occurrence that has since gone viral via Facebook and other platforms. The video itself features a graphic struggle as two to three security officers in blue jeans yank and drag the elderly doctor out of his seat and along the aisle of the plane, in open view of the rest of the cabin. While it is important to note that the security officers here worked for the Chicago Department of Aviation, this scene of helplessness and apparent victimization would begin a year of issues for United Airlines.
From then on, what may normally have been a slight shower of customer complaints turned into a torrential downpour as new tales of terrible service became more ostentatious and article-worthy. Everything from being stung by a scorpion to the tragic loss of pets, from destroying wheelchairs to stealing $1000-seats from toddlers, the stories revolving around flying with United have become less like a Yelp review and more fitting to tell around the campfire. Despite these issues, though, United Airlines continues to survive with a relatively quiet year in 2018.