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A perfect World Cup tweet gone wrong

18 Jun

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I’ve decided that when Taylor Swift first sang the words ‘I knew you were trouble when you walked in’ she was talking about one of two things: 1D’s Harry Styles or the perils of social media.

Social media is a bear trap for brands and the latest honey to lure them in is the World Cup. Put simply, if a tweet misses the net the person behind the shot will end up paying the price.

Playing the hand you’re Delta
On Monday night Delta Airlines decided to keep its 690,000+ followers updated on the final score of the USA (2) vs Ghana (1) match with this tweet.

20140618-103129.jpgAn ignorant stereotype
On the outside this looks like a great tweet. It’s factual, engaging and makes the most of iconic photography.

Look a little closer and you’ll see that it was all going so well until the company decided that the photo that best defined Ghana was a giraffe.

Moments later, experts quickly pointed out that giraffes don’t live in Ghana (If you didn’t already know this go straight to jail. Do not pass go and do not collect £200.)

In fact, with a bit of digging the experts discovered that this stock image had Kenya written all over it. (Well, you know what I mean.) So, there’s no reason, or excuse, for the Delta team to have got this one wrong.

Not only does it make the brand look a little unworldly – believe me for a travel company that’s not the adjective you want to be associated with – but also a little uncaring.

Cue the apology
To right its wrong, Delta did the only thing it could do in this situation: issue a public apology.

But, I can only imagine that its community manager was trembling with fear because it added an unnecessary step to its sorry note. It made a typo by referring to its ‘precious’ tweet (opposed to previous).

20140618-114716.jpgI’ve previously said that if a link between a brand and an event isn’t obvious then they shouldn’t be wading into the conversation at all.

Global events, like the World Cup, are not only notoriously difficult to generate cut-through, but when brands do get noticed it’s often because a mistake’s been made.

Destroying the evidence
Not that you’d ever know Delta had been issued a yellow card. The offending image has disappeared from the timeline and the airline has spent the last day ‘doing a Sainsbury’s‘ by directly apologising to its critics.

Perhaps I’m not giving Delta enough credit. It may have been completely in control of this risky stunt. But, it’s not one that I’d ever recommend.

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A&F bans black clothing for attention

10 Jul

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If there’s one thing that all women agree on, it’s the colour black. It’s universally flattering. So, why has designer brand Abercrombie & Fitch banned it from all its stores?

The fashion outlet has announced that it’s no longer selling any black garments and its employees – including those based at its Ohio head office – are not allowed to turn up to work in it. Even black winter coats are frowned upon, leaving men and women across the country scurrying around for a new wardrobe.

Abercrombie thinks black is too formal and that’s not what it wants to be associated with. So it’s taken the decision on itself – without any research of feedback from its customers to back it up – suggesting that this is just a marketing and PR stunt, with not much substance behind it.

Journalist Ashley Lutz from Business Insider online suggests that the brand is chasing its ideal and preferred American sweetheart customer which is a tall, slim and pretty with an outgoing attitude. And its ban on black is just one step closer to targeting, and attracting, this type of person into its stores.

There’s a flurry of links to the news story which has been picked up by key websites such as MSN and The Drum. But other than that Michael Jeffries, Abercrombie’s CEO, has slipped his latest guidelines under the radar.

I’m no fashionista (however hard I try) but black is classic, not formal. And this isn’t a successful strategy, it’s a cry for attention.

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