The Fine Line Between Right and Wrong – Web 2.0 and PR

There is no doubt that running a business has changed rapidly since the inception of Web 2.0, businesses now have to somewhat operate 24/7. Posting original content and keeping in constant contact with consumers is detrimental to a businesses success, as well as keeping relevant to what else is going on around the world.  With this rapidly flowing social media, it’s easy to post your opinion without giving it close consideration. In a recent documentary, Youtube content creator Thomas, more commonly known by his username ‘TomSka’, noted that one of the benefits of both Youtube and Social Media was that he could turn to his audience to peer-review his content, in order to avoid posting anything incorrect or offensive.  Examples of these #fails pop up more frequently than not, and often go viral. The most recent example of this is Woolworth’s Anzac advertising, where the supermarket giant paired portraits of Anzac soldiers with the slogan ‘fresh in our memories’, playing on their everyday slogan ‘The fresh food people’. Followers of their Facebook page were encouraged to generate profile pictures and cover photos of these nameless soldiers to commemorate them, however they received enormous backlash from both the public and ANZAC organisations, with words such as ‘disgusting’ and ‘disrespectful’ being used frequently. Unfortunately for Woolies, it became apparent that their sheer lack of thought wasn’t their only issue,  after completely removing the campaign online the PR agency behind the campaign, Carrspace, went temporarily underground, only to resurface with no mention of their work with Woolworths, without realising that cached versions of their website could still in fact be viewed.

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As we’ve seen in the past, such as with the DiGiorno debacle, the best way to move on is to acknowledge your wrong doings and apologise. Whilst Woolworths has apologised for offending anyone, they remain adamant that the incident was not a marketing campaign, digging themselves into a deeper hole.

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Ironically, Carrspace prides themselves as being an ‘Experiential Agency’, let’s hope that they do learn from this and when/if they recover they own up to their wrong doings!

To end this post, I will leave you with a one minute video which highlights how a business should respond in the midst of a social media crisis, perhaps Woolies and Carrspace should be watching this one?

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