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The Biggest Social Media Mishaps of Famous Brands

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The Biggest Social Media Mishaps of Famous Brands

By Lars Lubienetzki | October 9, 2023, 7:56 a.m

Once you don’t think properly or overestimate the reputation of your own brand, there is strong resistance from the online community. In recent years, well-known companies and institutions have vastly underestimated the power of social media. The following social media mishaps clearly show: Please turn on your brain before clicking.

Even big brands and companies can really put their foot in it. In the age of social media, the list of fails is very large and continues to grow. TECHBOOK has looked at the biggest social media mishaps from various brands and companies and presents them below.

Dumb, Dumber, Burger King!

With this tweet from the meatball maker Burger King, we can only hope that someone in the social media department pressed the enter key too early. It actually says: “Women belong in the kitchen.” – translated: “Women belong in the kitchen.” A winking smiley could possibly have saved something. But nothing. Just this sentence. Twitter has only been around since 2006, so a tweet from the Stone Age is out of the question. What went wrong? Definitely a lot.

To save honor it should be added. It’s a thread. Actually, Burger King has a very serious concern on International Women’s Day 2021. In many restaurants, men are the chefs. Burger King would like to point out this fact. The company relies on provocation and completely goes off the rails. Because women in particular feel provoked, and rightly so.

LG – an iPhone is an iPhone is a…

The word “Bendgate” still makes the Apple development team for the iPhone 6 tremble today. At the time, Apple received a lot of ridicule on social media for its involuntarily flexible smartphone. Tweets and posts happily blaspheme about the damage to the company’s image. Of course, the competition also tries to make jokes. LG uses a tweet to point out the advantages of its own new smartphone.

This has a gentle curve right from the start. The tweet is quickly typed, all you have to do is click on “Send” and the entire internet world knows that LG is tweeting via iPhone. Gone stupid. By the way: iPhones still exist. LG’s smartphones, on the other hand, have been history since 2021.

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Also interesting: The biggest Apple flops of all time

Elon Musk – April Fool’s joke with financial consequences

Humor on social media can quickly become a minefield. Elon Musk, Tesla boss and owner of X – formerly Twitter – found out about this in 2018. At that time, he posted a tweet on April 1st in which he claimed that Tesla had not found any funding in its search. The company is bankrupt. The tweet and especially the following tweets make it clear that it’s all just fun. However, some Tesla shareholders don’t recognize the obvious April Fool’s joke when they read it cursorily. As a result, Tesla shares briefly fell by more than seven percent.

Deutsche Bahn bashes Greta Thunberg

Deutsche Bahn doesn’t find a tweet from Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg funny at all. The Swede posted a photo of herself sitting on the floor of an ICE train. The train is obviously overcrowded, although Greta Thunberg doesn’t criticize this situation, Deutsche Bahn simply can’t keep its hands off the keyboard. The DB’s social media department is trying to tweet in a way that is as wordy as the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) is excellent at. Attempt failed.

The DB claims that Greta Thunberg actually had a first class ticket. When Greta Thunberg then kindly clarified what really happened, the shitstorm began. The DB should have known better: trains are not only sometimes full, but are simply canceled.

Pepsi and Ronaldo voodoo

Cola and Ronaldo have been at loggerheads for a long time. In 2020, the Portuguese football star shows what he thinks of the brown soft drink ahead of a press conference. Perhaps Ronaldo remembered a social media fail from 2013. At that time, Pepsi Cola in Sweden thought it was a good idea to ridicule Ronaldo as a voodoo doll covered in needles on Facebook.

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The social media campaign ran in the run-up to the World Cup qualifier between Sweden and Portugal. But even before kick-off it became clear that the soda manufacturer had no chance in the Pepsi vs. Ronaldo match. Within a very short time, a Facebook group called “I’ll never drink Pepsi” was founded and immediately received more than 115,000 likes. Classic own goal, Pepsi!

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Dresden – city marketing at its worst!

The idea itself isn’t bad at all. Dresden City Marketing would like to collect a few positive comments from the community via Twitter. After all, Dresden also has the beautiful second name Florence on the Elbe. Using #VisitDresden, the Twitter community is invited to tweet their most beautiful moments as a comment. Now every person understands something different about beautiful. Without a doubt, Dresden exudes a touch of Tuscan elegance with its imposing buildings.

However, the Twitter community associates completely different things with the Saxon metropolis. Unfortunately, Monday demonstrations and Pegida dominate the comment column. At least one thing is clear after this tweet: There is still a lot to do for Dresden city marketing when it comes to brand sharpening.

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Burger King or could it be even flatter?

Burger King in Austria showed how a company is messing with the entire queer community. Many companies take part in the so-called Pride Month via social media every June. A whole month is about respect and recognition for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Burger King is celebrating this month with the Pride Whopper and is also “proud” of it. A burger with two identical bun halves, sometimes just the two tops, sometimes just the two bottoms. A meatball in a soft bun as a symbolic image for people with diverse sexuality? Absolutely tasteless.

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US Airways experiences “Planegina”

We don’t know whether the airline US Airways put the nail in its own coffin with this tweet in 2014. In any case, US Airways will cease operations in 2015. The social media department was already having significant problems when it came to responding to customer complaints via Twitter. What happened? The English tabloid press speaks of “Planegina”. First, a passenger complains about a delayed flight. At the same time, an adult picture of a woman with a plastic airplane ends up in US Airways’ Twitter inbox.

Instead of deleting the image, it suddenly appears in the reply tweet to the passenger who complained about his delayed flight. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there are significant delays in removing the tweet. It took the social media experts at US Airways almost an hour until the embarrassing tweet finally arrived safely in the trash.

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