by Kim Niemi
Sporting events get people excited—especially major sporting events that only happen periodically, or against longtime rivals, like the World Series, or the Olympics, or the World Cup. Businesses get excited too, because with the right marketing in place, they can leverage all that excitement into added attention on their company. Unless they post something stupid in their haste to be part of the mix.
It’s far too easy to post something that can be misconstrued and cause offense – if it weren’t, people would stop this doing it. Take these examples of from this year’s World Cup:
And Royal Dutch Airlines (known as KLM)
The KLM tweet included a cartoon image of a man wearing a poncho and sombrero; not surprisingly, many found it offensive. Yikes.
What do the three tweets above have in common (aside from a surge of angry reply tweets)? They are all examples of social sabotage.
In each case, a pause to fact-check, or to consider the ramifications of narrowing an entire country down to a cartoon stereotype, could have made all the difference.
Because the consequences of social sabotage are very real. As one Twitter user playfully pointed out:
But it’s really not funny. At least, it’s not if you’re “Steve.”
With each example above, the companies responsible were quick to remove the tweets in response to the resulting backlash, but not before they were all screen-capped for posterity. This is why it’s so important not to err in the first place – because damage control is a mythical beast on the Internet.
To help you avoid your own social missteps, here’s a refresher of ourrules, plus a new one inspired by these latest tweets:
Have your own story about social sabotage to share? Comment below. To read more instances of social sabotage, click here.