Naughty and Nice: 8 Brands from 2014

By Angela Kuo

‘Tis the season for yearly round ups! After Oreo’s excellently timed “Dunk In The Dark” post at Super Bowl XLVII, Community Managers have had the very important task of staying up-to-date on all trends, conversations, and news relevant to their brands in hopes of replicating that sort of success. Here’s a collection of a few of the year’s top examples of timely content successes and flops.

NAUGHTY: DiGiorno Pizza, #WhyIStayed

The number one rule of jumping onto a trending hashtag is to first take a look at conversations going on around it. This is a task that usually takes five minutes, at most. Unfortunately DiGiorno Pizza, whose feed is usually on-point with sassy and culturally relevant banter, didn’t see that #WhyIStayed was a conversation around domestic violence. The brand deleted the tweet minutes later after harsh backlash, but not before many screenshots were taken and it had started blowing up on all media.

NICE: KitKat, #BendGate

Many brands tepidly jumped onto Apple’s #BendGate “scandal” in which it was announced that the new iPhone 6 was capable of being bent out of shape. So many posts left us wondering, “Why?” Kit Kat, on the other hand, led the way with the least confusing brand tie-in. It has even surpassed Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark post at 23,000 retweets!

NAUGHTY: Dave & Buster’s, #TacoTuesday

This should go without saying, but being racist is a surefire way to get yourself on the Naughty List, Dave & Buster’s. I didn’t think it could get any worse, but this gem of a tweet stayed up for a whole 40 minutes before deletion.

NICE: JCPenny, USA Mittens

Many people may file this social media hack as a “fail,” but I would disagree. As a Community Manager, I am constantly double-checking all tweets and posts for typos, so knowing that behind this campaign was a grinning Community Manager misspelling everything with purpose absolutely made my day. Many people thought the brand’s Community Manager was drunk- tweeting, which then caught the attention of other brands and brought them into the discussion. Would we even have known, let alone talked about, USA mittens if it weren’t for this clever stunt? Nope.

NAUGHTY: US Airways, Toy Plane Snafu

US Airways really didn’t toy around (pun intended) with this one. The Community Manager accidentally responded to a customer service issue with an extremely NSFW photo of a toy plane being used as a sex toy. There really isn’t much else to say about this one.

NICE: JetBlue, Customer Parade

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, JetBlue’s Community Manager took Alexa Burrow’s tweet complaining of flying and alerted the team who then surprised Alexa at her destination with a welcome parade. Amazing.

NAUGHTY: KFC, March Madness

Using a child’s misfortune as an opportunity to push your product is a less-than-ideal Community Management situation. Everything about this is a red flag: world’s saddest child, hashtagging his expression as #struggleface, suggesting that a bucket of fried chicken is a good solution.

NICE: Arby’s, Grammys Pharrell Hat

Arby’s won the Grammys this year with its, “Can we have our hat back?” tweet which got 75,000 retweets and more than 40,000 favorites by the following Monday morning. Not only did the tweet get the attention of Pepsi and Hyundai, but Pharrell himself responded with, “Y’all tryna start a roast beef?” Community Management GOLD.

Add to this list in the comments below. I’d love to know your thoughts! Follow me on Twitter for snippets of advertising news, food stuff, and puppy videos.