Social Media: The #fail that keeps on giving

Friday 24th, April 2015

by Lucille Burkitt


As a nation, Australians never miss an opportunity to throw our two cents into the social media mix of major corporations, and why wouldn’t we?

We’ve seen fails this week with serious implications. But, the majority of this stuff is downright hilarious. (Not for the brands involved though – sorry guys).

The Sensitive Subject Matter


Early last week we saw Woolworths launch an Anzac campaign that was poorly considered, and received a beating from the Australian public in its prostitution of a day of commemoration.  The slogan ‘Fresh in our memories’ accompanied by a Woolworths logo was used over an image of a soldier, and prompted the public to use the template as a profile picture on social media platforms. Of course, majority of the public were outraged over the misuse of the imagery, and the ones that weren’t outraged were busy uploading photos of Hitler, or worse, Tony Abbott in his budgie smugglers. Needless to say, Woolworths were forced to pull the campaign and have consequently received weeks of bad PR and a  #brandzacday hash tag backlash. #fail

Shortly after the Woolworths #fail, we saw another big player make a fool of themselves over a poorly considered social media faux pas.  Mortein piggy backed off the trending hash tag #putyourdressout which was initiated to pay tribute to the tragic death of Stephanie Scott. The post featured an image of Louie the Fly hanging his vest out, but was seen to the public as a crass way of becoming part of a sensitive conversation. Unfortunately, Mortein should have steered clear of this one.

The Political Foolishness

#imstickingwithtony hasn’t long been launched, but was totally asking for it. Any campaign that prompts the general public to engage in witty, satirical versions of a hash tag against a politician hasn’t done their social media research. Come on guys, smarten up. Didn’t they learn from #whyimnotvotingforhillary?

The Customer Service Catastrophes


Of course, with all of the focus on poorly placed social media campaigns this week, the twittersphere has brought up old wounds for #qantasluxury, a hash tag the company could only hope was dead and buried. The timing of this campaign was downright unfortunate, as QANTAS had grounded their entire fleet weeks earlier, inconveniencing thousands of customers who were on their way home, to work, weddings and funerals. Pissed off customers and an invite to a trending hash tag? People took the opportunity and ran with it, in the most sarcastic ways they could think of.


On the verge of a national health rampage, we’re not entirely sure why McDonalds (the processed enemy of all things ‘fitspo’) injected themselves into the social landscape, but they did. Needless to say it got ugly. Their hashtag #McDStories quickly elevated into an opportunity to share horror stories. Our minds were quickly drawn from fries to fingernails. How did they not see this coming?

The Just Plain Ridiculous

And then there was this. Susan Boyle’s album launch party. #susanalbumparty. Enough said? Yes.

The lesson? Don’t piss off Australia. Oh, and make sure you’ve got an agency that knows what they’re doing with your social media, because your reputation is in their hands. There’s no escape key on social media.