New use of Twitter: brand apology management for bad advertising

December 5, 2008 at 6:02 pm 5 comments

We all know brands have been making some forays into social media an networking platforms.

Apart from monitoring the twittersphere for spotting trends, and buying ad space there also seems to a new use: personalized brand reputation management.

Today, Adage’s Chris Abraham reports that he was contacted by the Director of Social and Emerging Media of PepsiCo, via Twitter apologizing for some inappropriate advertising Chris had complained about previously.

Here is the quoted Tweet.

I saw your tweet and I just wanted to make sure I responded personally. We agree this creative is totally inappropriate; we apologize and please know it won’t run again. Also, thanks for the feedback and the Digg, it is important to discuss these types of issues.

My best friend committed suicide and this is a topic very close to my heart. So again I offer my deepest apologies.

Feel free to follow-up via twitter to me – @boughb or Huw – @huwgilbert or respond to this email.

Thanks, Bonin

It’s safe to assume that we need to be prepated for more of this. Not only do we have to listen more closely to what really moves people in the context of their daily lives to avoid creating advertising without a human purpose in the first place, but we also have to be ready to have systems, process and people in place that deal with people’s expectations and outrage when brands do mess up their communications.

In the case of Chris, the apology worked, and it’s a no-brainer: using the personal nature of social media does have more oomph than a stale public apology from a faceless company.


Entry filed under: humankind, Trends. Tags: , , , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cabraham  |  December 5, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    The apology did work, but I still snarked a little on him. If I had known him, I would not have blogged it, probably. The biggest mistake that people make in this space is they don’t prime the pump. CC Chapman knows Bonin personally and thinks he a great guy but I was like, “who the hell are you.” To the point that I even doubted his reference to his best friend having committed suicide, which I would not have done if I knew him. When it comes to this social media space — and to PR in general — it is about recognizing people and knowing who they are.

  • 2. Eamon  |  December 6, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Twitter is proving to be very elastic in what it can do in marketing.

  • 3. tbuesing  |  December 8, 2008 at 11:35 am

    I see cases of early adopters in marketing personally spending much love and time on twitter. But over time, what will be a scalable model? After all, if it catches on and people expect immediate and fully personal responses to their gripes, you don’t want CEOs turning into full-time Twitterers.
    Call center-like twitter monitoring and response, employees writing and responding within a framework/guidelines, escalating the more difficult (headstrong?) cases?
    Interesting that there seems to be no involvement from the agency that launched the ad in the first place.

  • 4. Alexander Wipf  |  December 8, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Good point from everyone here. I think yeah, it is about recognizing people and knowing who they are, and yeah, how to operationalize it is a key question too. The comment on where the agency is in this is also indicative of current marketing AND advertising models not being up to speed on what to do with social media. Preparing for any of this SM stuff means putting people in place that you never thought you would have in an agency before, not even digital agencies. I see this gap apparent in almost all established agencies, as a result of which new agencies pop up everywhere addressing this very need. I think agency services consolidation is gonna take quite some time, if it is gonna happen at all. How do you manage a medium like the web if it continues to spawn new communication and transaction channels by the minute?

  • […] New use of Twitter: brand apology management for bad advertising […]


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