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posted by janrinok on Monday March 30 2015, @05:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the Pete-Seeger-singing-"when-will-they-ever-learn?-when-will-they-ever-learn?" dept.

Alison Griswold writes that in an effort to improve its tanking image, SeaWorld launched a new advertising campaign this week to educate the public about its “leadership in the care of killer whales” and other work to protect whales in captivity and in the wild. As part of that head-on initiative, someone at SeaWorld decided to invite Twitter users to pose their questions to the company directly using the hashtag #AskSeaWorld. That was not a good idea as twitter users bashed Sea World relentlessly. "As easy as it is to make fun of SeaWorld here, the real question is why any company still thinks hosting an open Twitter forum could be good for public relations," writes Griswold. "So maybe SeaWorld’s social and PR folks just really have no idea what they’re doing. Even so, you’d think they’d have learned from the corporate failures before them."

Let’s review some of the times this has backfired, starting with the infamous McDonald’s #McDStories Twitter campaign of January 2012. Rather than prompting customers to share their heart-warming McDonald’s anecdotes, the hashtag gave critics a highly visible forum to share their top McDonald’s horror stories. MacDonalds pulled the campaign within two hours but they discovered that crowd-sourced campaigns are hard to control. Three years later the #McDStories hashtag is still gathering comments. "Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea.," concludes Griswold. "A well-meaning hashtag gives critics an easy way to assemble and voice their complaints in a public forum. Why companies still try them is a great mystery. Maybe they’ll all finally learn from SeaWorld and give this one horrible PR trick up for good."

 
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  • (Score: 1) by Fauxlosopher on Monday March 30 2015, @06:07PM

    by Fauxlosopher (4804) on Monday March 30 2015, @06:07PM (#164393) Journal

    Alison Griswold appears unable to understand that setting the stage for "viral marketing" can result in a negative outcome for the marketeers. She doesn't see it being obvious that using an open and public forum that you do not control for your official PR campaigns does run the risk of having conversations run away from you? Such phenomenons can yet be beneficial, as even with such a risk, a business looking for a fast infusion of ideas from the public may well find value in a PR campaign that draws primarily negative comments.

    What I find most remarkable about this is that someone thought writing and publishing an article about this was a worthwhile expenditure of time, and I write this as someone who doesn't use "social media" at all.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday March 30 2015, @07:06PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 30 2015, @07:06PM (#164429)

    can result in a negative outcome for the marketeers

    I wonder if everyone who can be radicalized is already radicalized. In which case this is just good PR to get the name out there. Maybe its not negative outcome.