When Will Businesses Learn That Piggybacking On Trending Tragedies Is A Bad Idea?

Repeat after me: I will NEVER use a trending tragedy to market my brand. And I will teach my employees to never do this either – or they’ll be fired on the spot.

Now read this post to see why that pledge is necessary and to marvel at the extreme insensitivity some people demonstrate online.

Epicurious is “the ultimate food site for people who love to eat” and it seems to be pretty popular. But although it boasts more than 267,000 Facebook fans and 386,000 Twitter followers, it has maintained radio silence for two days now – and for good reason. 

According to Yahoo, someone on their social media team is really, really bad at their job.

First, s/he sent out the following tweet, expressing sympathy around the Boston Marathon attack:

And then THIS happened:

Nothing draws a crowd like a bomb attack, hmm?

But the attention they received was probably NOT what the ill-advised Twitterer had in mind. And then they made it even worse by provided an apology that really wasn’t:

And the anger carried over to Facebook where folks are calling for the person responsible to be fired:

Though they DID finally tweet the apology they should have to begin with:

But we HAVE to wonder, with the many, many examples of this social media suicide, from Kenneth Cole exploiting Cairo’s uprising to Celeb Boutique taking advantage of the mass shooting in Colorado – how does this keep happening? And honestly, what kind of person thinks piggybacking on a trending tragedy is a good marketing ploy?

Your thoughts?

(Piggyback image from Shutterstock)

@MaryCLong maryclong@digitalmediaghost.com Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.
Publish date: April 18, 2013 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/piggybacking-trending-tragedies-bad-idea/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT