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When social media turns scary – the most frightening brand fails

We’ve all had the odd social media scare. Whether it’s sending a screenshot of someone’s post to the person who actually wrote it, liking a mutual friend’s photo from 3 years ago while deep in an Instagram stalk or accidentally putting someone’s name as your status while trying to search them on Facebook – you’re definitely not alone.


But when brands get something horribly wrong, that’s when social media turns scary. This year we thought we’d celebrate Halloween by looking back on some of the most frightening social fails…


When HMV should have changed their Twitter password immediately…

Facing financial struggles (and ultimately administration), 2013 was already off to a bad start for HMV. Things took a turn for the worse, however, when they were forced to fire over 60 people from their head office and didn’t change their Twitter login. Disgruntled staff live-tweeted the whole sacking process, even getting the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring trending.

HMV staff take over Twitter after mass firing.  










When Pretty Little Thing were too eager with their scheduling…

Clothing brand Pretty Little Thing wished their 1 million Facebook followers a Happy New Year with the post below. What’s wrong with that? Well, nothing – except they posted it in November! It’s good to be prepared but try not to get ahead of yourself.

Pretty Little Thing tweet 'Happy New Year' message a month early








When McDonald’s accidentally used the draft version…

Another example of how being too organised can sometimes be your downfall. In 2017 McDonalds were obviously planning on some great Black Friday content, but instead posted the draft version for their millions of followers to enjoy instead. We’re lovin’ this social scare.

McDonald's accidentally tweet the draft version of their Black Friday promotion.  






When the Tesco social media team should have read the news…

Remember when the British supermarket industry was rocked by news that horse meat had found its way into other meat products? Well, Tesco’s social media team thought that would be the perfect time to tweet the following goodnight message…

Tesco staff make horse pun in the middle of the horsemeat scandal.





When Susan Boyle should have used capital letters…

It may not be quite as brand-damaging as some of the previous fails, but this one did leave opera star Susan Boyle’s PR team a little red faced. In honour of the singer’s debut album release, her team thought up the hashtag #susanalbumparty. However, the lack of capitals led to followers thinking it meant – well, you can figure out the rest.

Susan Boyle's social media team didn't proof read the hashtag in lower case






Don’t end up on our next list of social media horrors! Throw us a bone on 01325 486666 or info@harveyandhugo.com to find out more about our services.


Related links:

PR stunts – do they work?

Are you guilty of these social media no-no’s

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