Top 5 Best and Worst Brand Responses to the Shutdown

By Mallorie Rosebluth

It’s officially been one week since Congress shutdown and decided to handle their problems through avoidance. The last seven days have been interesting to watch from a social media perspective (and there is a TON of conversation, by October 3rd – just 48 hours into the shutdown – there was a reported 45 million interactions on Facebook alone!). Even from the personal feeds of friends and connections, it seems everyone has an opinion, and social media is once again the outlet to express points of view, frustrations and jokes about the situation. But it’s not just individuals who are starting the conversation – brands are getting involved too. And some have been more successful then others. Here is our round-up of the best, and worst, #shutdown posts we’ve seen this week:

Best:

The athletic competition not meant for those faint of heart (or physical capailities) sentences the government to the ultimate punishment – 30 burpees. This represents not only a timely response to events, but also one that’s relevant to the brand and doesn’t feel forced. No burpees for you, Spartan Race.
Kudos to Red Bull for bringing their brand promise to “give you wings” to life. With Red Bull, you can tackle anything, so with their ubiquitous street team delivering the energy-packed beverage to Congress, you can be sure we’re in good hands.
This post from Likeable client Visit Salt Lake was the perfect way to communicate to residents that despite many of the city’s attractions being government run, the beautiful locale is still open for business. It didn’t go political, and was a success with their Facebook community.
Worst:
From NASA (called out above) to the White House, government run social media accounts all posted this “sorry for the inconvenience” message. Is it better than total silence? Maybe, but just barely. Comments turned nasty on these posts and it didn’t do much to educate or inform the public about the shutdown. In fact, they’re very clearly saying they won’t be answering questions, so what’s the point?
A popular trend we’ve seen? Businesses (typically those in the food/ beverage/ entertainment industries) offering government employees (who are out of a paycheck while the shutdown is underway) discounts for goods. It’s self-promotion and a push for sales masked as goodwill to those most immediately impacted by the shutdown. And it just feels tacky. The above examples from AMC Theaters definitely toes the tacky line, and in my opinion, leaps over it. Not cool, AMC.
So there’s our round-up, but of course there were dozens (or more) responses from brands that failed and won – what were your favorites? Post them in the comments below!

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treb072410 October 13, 2013
Cool!!! Thanks for sharing the post! I really enjoyed reading it!

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