By: Anthony Ebel
Hot off of last class discussion in ethics and social media, I thought it would be good to highlight a social media fail from Monterey Bay Aquarium I picked up from CBS SF Bay Area. Let’s be real, sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all versus trying to be funny and it hurting your brand. You can’t please everyone, but don’t risk your brand image for some comic relief.
Monterey Bay Aquarium tried to be funny by posting this pic of Abby the otter on Twitter with an interesting choice of language. the aquarium referred to the otter as “thicc”, “chonk”, and “an absolute unit”. Users were quick to comment on the inappropriate use of the language and a firestorm ensued. Many people commented and retweeted, saying they were offended and the creator of the post should be ashamed.
The aquarium quickly responded with a long apology saying they “need to de better”. They then went on to discuss their mission. Interestingly enough the original post is still live on Twitter and they have not taken it down.
Posts like these are happening far too often with companies much bigger than the Monterey Bay Aquarium. How far is too far? What are companies doing regulate their channels in order to avoid such backlash and negative light in the media? These are questions we are asking ourselves every day, yet these type of posts keep appearing. The want to go viral on social media has brands and companies alike taking chances on cringe posts such as this to the point where it feels like roulette in Vegas. Take a spin and see if you can win big. but if you lose, you lose it all quick and it’s tough to bounce back.
It will be interesting to see in the near future if there are more opportunities in digital/social media compliance to add more checks and balances to brands social media posts. With the thought of one single post being detrimental to brand image, it may be an investment companies need to make to protect themselves.
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