Don’t get outed for a bad tweet, or another reason why letting the young staff handle social media is a bad idea

Poor Durex, the famous condom manufacturer. Here’s a cautious tale out of South Africa about them. One tweet and they had egg on their faces (I’m going to try and avoid bad condom-types puns in this blog post — wish me luck!!).


Someone told a young Durex employee in South Africa that it would be okay to make up their own tweets and blast them out via social media. Mistake #1, giving the 20-something control of social media.  Mistake #2, assuming one tweet wouldn’t really matter. Boy, did it matter to Durex. Here’s the tweet:


Of course the twitterverse rose up in outrage over this misogynistic comment. And then the same twitter account out of South Africa tried to defend itself, saying it was just a joke. And then more bad-taste (ooh, where did your mind just go?!) jokes were posted. Eventually Durex corporate stepped in and removed the offensive tweets and apologized. But the damage was already done.

A South African blogger seems to have summed up the problem nicely, saying it seems that the PR company responsible for managing Durex’s tweets may have

“placed a young tweeter at the helm of their twitter account and this is a problem many companies face. Placing someone you think will translate your brand at the level at which you are trying to target is a good idea. Having no-one monitor it is a mistake. Young, mid-life or old – we all need moderation.”

Well that was a cock up, wasn’t it?

A hurricane is a time for worry, not a marketing opportunity

A hurricane is a time for worry, not a marketing opportunity

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast in October 2012, a few companies tried to take advantage of the big news day by offering discounts related to Sandy. Next time, they should think through the PR consequences.

american-apparelAmerican Apparel storm sale provokes Twitter backlash

During the height of the storm, the US retailer emailed customers to tell them to enter “SANDYSALE” when shopping online, but only if you live in a state hit by the hurricane. The twitterverse jumped all over them.

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Then there was President’s Choice. Another shining example of why the 20-something shouldn’t control the social media channels with no senior PR oversight.