US brand KitchenAid suffers backlash after ‘accidental’ abusive Obama Tweet on debate night
One of KitchenAid’s staff last night sent out an unpleasant tweet about President Obama’s late grandmother and is today paying the price.
While the tweet was quickly deleted the damage was done after the tweet was rapidly retweeted and pasted online. Proving once again that there is very little chance of deleting anything permanently in social media.
The original grammar free tweet read: “Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president,’ ” along with the #nbcpolitics hashtag.
To its credit KitchenAid was quick to get its apology out: ”Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand’s opinion. #nbcpolitics.”
The thing is the KitchenAid tweet is a hard one to bounce back from. As I wrote earlier this was a huge Twitter night with more than 10.3 million tweets sent. If you were going to screw up as a brand you really did not want to do it last night. As while a joke of sorts it was nasty and so left the brand very little room for manoeuvre.
It is not the first time we have seen this kind of faux pas. It is a common problem in social media when people are managing multiple social media accounts.
Previously we have seen high profile cases such as those of Chrysler and the American Red Cross fall foul of this problem. The different ways those two brands responded are instructive – one turned it into an opportunity while the other missed it.
What else could KitchenAid have done?
So what else could KitchenAid have done? I think it could have done more; gone further and showed a greater act of contrition. While there is no way to joke your way out of this situation as the American Red Cross did it could have maybe gone for an immediate charitable donation to something like the Fisher House Foundation, which provides support for military families, and is a charity that the Obama family donates to.
Not a political act, but a charity one that also resonates with the first family and their supporters.
On Twitter many were saying that the person who sent the tweet would be fired the next day. Seemed like a good guess.
As KitchenAid later tweeted that the tweet “was carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team who, needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore”.
That led others to joke that if Romney wins the Presidential race and cuts funding to PBS, Big Bird may be available for a job.
Is there an upside? Well @KitchenAid had around 24,000 followers and it now has round 1,300 more.
Over a series of Tweets Cynthia Soledad, who identified herself as the head of KitchenAid, wrote this:
“Hello, everyone. My name is Cynthia Soledad, and I am the head of the KitchenAid brand.
“I would like to personally apologize to President @BarackObama, his family and everyone on Twitter for the offensive tweet sent earlier.
“It was carelessly sent in error by a member of our Twitter team who, needless to say, won’t be tweeting for us anymore.
“That said, I take full responsibility for my team. Thank you for hearing me out.
“@PoliticalTicker My name is Cynthia Soledad, and I’m the head of KitchenAid. I’d like to talk on record about what happened. Pls DM me. Thx.