Social Comms always need a crisis plan

September 28, 2012

We’ve seen many examples of social media going horribly wrong for big brands, from the likes of Dr. Pepper to McDonalds. Waitrose joined the social media fail last week with their “finish the sentence” tweet campaign, or did they?

Waitrose tweeted; “I shop at Waitrose because…” then sat back, expecting to soak up the praise. Instead the accompanying hashtag #waitrosereasons gave everyone the perfect tool to track the witty British comments as the hilarity unfolded. Some of my favourites below:

  • “I shop at Waitrose because I used Apple Maps to get to my nearest Sainsburys.” #waitrosereasons
  • “I shop at Waitrose because Clarrisa’s pony just WILL NOT eat ASDA Value straw”  #waitrosereasons
  • “I shop at Waitrose for the carrier bags. I put my food shopping from Aldi in them for the journey home.” #WaitroseReasons
  • “I shop at Waitrose because my butler is having a week off.” #WaitroseReasons
  • “I shop at Waitrose because I got a lifetime ban from M&S after doing something obscene to a Percy Pig.” #WaitroseReasons

Waitrose took the satirical replies with good humour and tweeted that they genuinely enjoyed all the tweets they received. Although this response was slightly slow to surface, it did help diffuse the situation and turn what could have been an explosion of negative abuse into a more light-hearted ‘banterous’ exchange of  the perceived brand image of Waitrose. The question is though, was this a complete social media fail or pure genius? The campaign has heightened Waitrose’s brand values of quality and excellent service as a key point of differentiation from the other grocery chains as well as reinforcing it’s upmarket brand image. I think it would be naive of us to suggest that Waitrose had not considered the potential for responses that mocked their ‘core consumer’ of a stereotypical ‘snob’.. they just probably didn’t expect the extent, variety and pure comical value of the responses that they received!

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