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Every Halloween we take the opportunity to celebrate the spooky, the creepy and everything else that goes bump in the night. This time around though, we’re looking back on some downright eerie marketing stunts that left us in unpleasant bewilderment. Here are some of the past year’s scariest social media mistakes!


1. Dove’s Skin-Color Controversy

Dove’s October campaign showing a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Despite allegedly positive intentions, the ad was perceived to be a tasteless allusion to the idea that dark skin is inferior to light, and unfortunately evoked an unsettling history of racist ads in the soap industry. Dove quickly issued an apology for the offense that was caused, and we hope they’ll look more critically at the potential negative connotations of campaigns they run in the future.


2. Adidas’s Unfortunate Email Subject

In April, Adidas took on the role of that unassuming, reckless victim we see in every slasher flick. It fashioned a subject line for its email to every Boston Marathon 2017 runner that tactlessly evoked memories of the tragic bombing at the event in 2013. It read “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon.” We needn’t say anything more.


3. Pizza Hut (Hunger) Strikes Back


When a video of Marwan Barghouti (a political prisoner and hunger strike leader) eating cookies was released in May, Israel’s Pizza Hut thought it was a good opportunity to make hay. The company posted a screenshot of the video with a pizza box photoshopped into the frame, and a caption directed at Barghouti asking, “if you’re going to break a strike, why not pizza?” Unsurprisingly, the post created quite a furore amongst Palestinians and the company issued an official apology.


4. Yahoo Finance’s “Bigger” Social Media Mistake


This facepalm moment was a genuine mistake, but one that could and should have been avoided. In early January, Yahoo Finance meant to tweet a link to a news story along with the caption: “Trump wants a much bigger navy: Here’s how much it’ll cost.” But they made a typo and accidentally replaced the letter b in the word “bigger” with the letter n. You can imagine the bitter cringe it was received with. The tweet was live for 20 minutes before it was deleted, which was more than enough time for the internet to make it immortal with retweets.


5. Beware The Walkers


Walkers, a snack company in the UK, ran a contest in July where they were giving away tickets to the UEFA Champions League finals. Twitter followers were asked to post selfies which were then featured in a video of retired soccer player Gary Lineker holding up the images. However, the company unwittingly failed to review the images (obviously posted by Twitter trolls), which ended up including photos of criminals, serial killers and sex offenders. How’s that for scary?


6. Uber’s Bad Timing (No Pun Intended)

When Trump’s immigration ban was creating uproar in January, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance went on strike and encouraged Uber and Lyft drivers to do the same. Uber chose this moment to promote itself by terminating surge pricing and tweeting about it. This lapse in judgement was met with backlash and mass deletion of the app country-wide.


7. Trump Brews Up Some Covfefe


We’re sure no one has missed nor forgotten Donald Trump’s legendary tweet in May that proclaimed, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” The internet had a field day and the meme galore that continues today is remarkable to say the least. The tweet was live for several hours with no further explanation from the President. It’s safe to say that Covfefe will go down as one of the most baffling mysteries in history, right alongside the Bermuda Triangle!

With that, we hope we’ve given you food for thought on some do-nots of social media. If you need more guidance, you can always contact us and we’ll help you avoid similar social media mistakes. Have yourselves a spooky but happy Halloween!


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