Agency Loses Chrysler Account Over Profanity in Tweet; Tweeter Fired

(Original story at ClickZ here.)

This is a month old now but I thought the story is worth posting here because it is a classical example of how people mistakenly post politically incorrect updates on their organization’s social media profile, only to realize that they had mixed up their personal accounts with their corporate accounts.

Before I took up a public relations internship at a healthcare group, I was advised by my career adviser in college to be really careful about what I say and do on the job because it takes years to establish an organization’s reputation but it takes only a slip of the tongue to destroy the reputation within days.

Even if the staff member at the agency in question had intended for the tweet to appear on his/her personal account, just why did s/he think it is alright for him/her to use a vulgarity on a Twitter account? This is especially so since s/he is in the public relations industry, where online personal branding and reputation are frequently reflected by what one does online.

Or maybe this is a publicity stunt by Chrysler?

Chrysler Sacks New Media Strategies Over Errant Tweet

Zachary Rodgers |  March 10, 2011

Social media managers across the nation are likely sweating bullets – and putting new security mechanisms in place – after an errant Tweet led Chrysler to fire its social media agency, New Media Strategies.

Yesterday morning an NMS staffer tweeted from the @ChryslerAutos account, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive.” Coming from a company that has staked its brand identity on loyalty to a resurgent Detroit, the flub was especially appalling – hence the harsh reaction. The Twitter account in question has just over 8,000 followers.

“So why were we so sensitive?” Chrysler wrote in a blog post today. “That commercial featuring the Chrysler 200, Eminem and the City of Detroit wasn’t just an act of salesmanship. This company is committed to promoting Detroit and its hard-working people. The reaction to that commercial, the catchphrase ‘imported from Detroit,’ and the overall positive messages it sent has been volcanic.”

According to Chrysler and NMS, the unnamed employee had intended to send the message from his or her personal account. The agency canned the staffer – not at Chrysler’s request, the automaker emphasized – but it wasn’t enough to save the relationship.

NMS issued this statement: “New Media Strategies regrets this unfortunate incident.  It certainly doesn’t accurately reflect the overall high-quality work we have produced for Chrysler.  We respect their decision and will work with them to ensure an effective transition of this business going forward.”

Each of Chrysler’s brands will assume day-to-day responsibility for its own social media efforts until the company assesses its needs and names a new social media agency, a Chrysler spokesperson said.

Do you like this blog? Become a fan on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter@SocMediaGaffes! Follow Nicholas on Twitter @nicholas_cheong.

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Author: Nicholas

Experienced Mortgage Banker at Colorado State Bank and Trust. Effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese. Expert on real estate market in the Front Range.

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