From unsullied to sullied: Sky missteps on Twitter

Sometimes what seems like a brilliant idea, doesn’t always translate how you imagine it will when you put it into force. That’s what Sky and DDB may have discovered with their ‘#CommandTheUnsullied’ campaign, which has received a fair amount of backlash. But, as recent history indicates, Twitter mishaps aren’t that uncommon.  

To promote the latest season of Game of Thrones, Sky TV and DDB allowed users to have the control of  a Twitter bot army in the thousands to spam any user.

Using the hashtag ‘#CommandTheUnsullied’, it allowed Twitter users to bombard fellow users with thousands of tweets from fake accounts, simply by tweeting a message including the hashtag, according to Stuff.

A DDB spokesperson, who didn’t wish to be named, said this to Stuff: “It’s certainly got people talking. I think the sentiment’s generally been very positive.” 

“There’s a lot of Game Of Thrones fans who are really behind it and know exactly what it’s all about. I think for those who aren’t quite Game Of Thrones fans it’s a bit harder to grasp, but the reaction’s been generally quite positive. Because it’s all monitored and all tweets are checked – it’s not like it’s just done automatically, we’ve actually got people downstairs checking it – someone that doesn’t want to be followed by 2000, we can then unfollow them again.”

Well, it has certainly got people talking. And as they say, bad publicity is good publicity.

Here’s a few other examples of well-meaning hashtags gone wrong:

Last year, Coca-Cola was forced to suspend its ‘#MakeItHappy’ campaign after an elaborate prank from blog site Gawker had the brand relaying several lines from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The idea of Coca-Cola’s campaign, which launched during the Super Bowl, was to stop the spread of negativity often seen online. In addition to a fairly cheesy TV ad, which showed some sugary spillage fixing the world’s anger issues, it asked Twitter users to mark negative posts with the ‘MakeItHappy’ hashtag, after which the company used the American Standard Code for Interchange, or the ASCII, to turn the negative words into cute pictures, mostly involving animals.

A Gawker writer spotted a fourteen-word slogan of white nationalism on Coca-Cola’s Twitter feed and realised Coca Cola’s campaign was backfiring.

Dating app Match released a TVC earlier in the year and posters which pushed its hashtag which encompassed this point, #LoveYourImperfections.

It wasn’t long before folks jumped on Twitter and got a little bit creative with it, here’s a few of our faves:

Qantas faced social media backlash a few years ago after launching a competition inviting Twitter followers to win a pair of first class pyjamas by tweeting their idea of a luxury experience and using a dedicated hashtag, according to Mumbrella.

But, instead angry customers used the hashtag to share their unhappy experiences with the airline. Including:

Getting from A to B without the plane being grounded or an engine catching fire

#QantasLuxury is a complimentary cheap hotel room because your cynical airway left you stranded in Adelaide, of all places. Adelaide.

#QantasLuxury is a massive executive bonus while your workers starve and your former customers choke

My idea for #QantasLuxury is not having cabin crew lie to my face about my electronic devices and their safety on a plane.

Couriers to make sure my staff around the world get their lockout notices any hour of the day or night #qantasluxury

More than 3mins notice that the whole service has been grounded #QantasLuxury

A ‘Full service’ airline that gives apples or cookies for flights between 11am and 3pm #NoLunchForYou

A plane that doesnt have an exploding engine! #QantasLuxury

See the rest here.

Susan Boyle’s PR team had a rather unfortunate Twitter mishap when it used the hashtag ‘#susanalbumparty’ to promote her 2012 album release.

The hashtag was soon changed, however, to ‘#SusanBoylesAlbumParty but not before the Twittersphere caught on.

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