The cardinal rule of social media managers for big brands is that they’ve desperately got to try to hook their claws into any kind of viral cultural moment, so that they can make some attempt to wring whatever minuscule value they can possibly get out of it for their brand.
That’s fine. One thing I would strongly recommend is that you not pursue that particular course of action if your brand is currently embroiled in a controversy around bashing up one of their customers. People have long memories – and by long, I mean they vaguely remember something which happened a few weeks ago.
United Airlines, still suffering the blowback from when they kinda sorta got cops to violently drag someone off a flight, have done their darndest to plug into the current cream of the crop viral story: that kid who really wanted nuggets. To be fair, their initial effort was before the debacle:
— United (@united) April 8, 2017
Y’know, considering everything that’s gone down, they probably could have left it there. But nope, despite the fact that they should probably keep their mouths shut for a few months until people have found something else to be furious at, United kept trying to steal nugget valour. This was even after people roasted them for this.
— Rafa El Alcalde (@ElalcaldeRafa) April 11, 2017
Now that the nugget boy is the most retweeted human alive, United swung in with the followup – offering to fly him to any Wendy’s restaurant in the world to claim his prize.
— United (@united) May 10, 2017
It did not go so well for them.
— Doog (@Doognarism) May 10, 2017
— Darryl Langston (@zilchzombie) May 10, 2017
— Ryan J. Davis (@RyanNewYork) May 10, 2017
— ???B??TY (@SHABOOTY) May 10, 2017
— Siqi Chen (@blader) May 11, 2017
— Joe Mann (@joemann22) May 10, 2017
— Ryan (@ryanztweetz) May 11, 2017
— Im a nerd deal w/ it (@nerdmcgeekson) May 10, 2017
Once again, there’s a lesson here: never, ever tweet.