2014's Worst Social Media Campaigns

Social media is now a must for businesses all over the world. So why is everyone still so bad at it?

It’s that time again. Each and every year, we look back on the social media landscape and ask ourselves a few questions. What was successful? What wasn’t? What was so bad that it’s hard to believe someone thought it was a good idea in the first place? For UNEX, this year in social media was another one of growth. We have a small yet ever-increasing audience and as we find new and successful ways of engaging them, our strategies and culture surrounding social media continue to change. For some companies, 2014 was far more rockier than what we experienced here at UNEX. Let’s take a look at some companies that did not fare so well in the past year.

American Apparel

Due to a long, controversial history under then CEO Dov Charney, American Apparel surprised next to nobody by posting an offensive and inappropriate image on its Tumblr in celebration of the Fourth of July. The image, a plume of swirling smoke on a red background, was meant to portray a firework. What it actually portrayed was the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. The company apologized for the post, saying that an employee “born after the Challenger tragedy unfortunately re-blogged a photograph of the explosion on our Tumblr account unaware of the context.” Dov Charney has since gotten the boot from the American Apparel board of directors.

Union Street Guest House

The Union Street Guest House is a small inn/banquet hall in Hudson, New York. It’s a quaint little venue that embraces a 19th century aesthetic and is as inoffensive as they come- until you dig into their company policies. After a public battle with past customers, it was revealed this summer that the Union Street Guest House was fining guests $500 for every negative review the venue received on Yelp from the guests and any other members of their party. On the bright side, Union Street Guest House promised to return the fine if the negative review was removed. After this news went viral, the company took the policy down and claimed that it was a joke. Union Street Guest House quickly learned that publicly extorting their customers for positive press was not the best angle to take on customer satisfaction.

Malaysia Air

After two tragic losses, Malaysia Air is reeling from lost profits, lawsuits, and plain old bad publicity. For most companies, this would serve as a signal- focus on your product and your expertise, and find ways to avoid the disasters that shaped their year. Malaysia Air chose instead to launch a “Bucket List” social media campaign, asking Twitter users to share posts and images that describe their “ultimate bucket list.” Predictably, this campaign backfired on the company, and they were forced to nix the promotion.

Thus concludes my short list of social media flubs of 2014. What successes did you experience on social media this year? What did you see other brands doing that really made you cringe? Tweet to us (@UNEX) and let us know!



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UNEX Manufacturing, Inc.
691 New Hampshire Avenue
Lakewood, NJ 08701

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