Watch what you say.. Or Tweet.

Social media gone wrong” story:

Another case of simply not being careful. An employee for the agency that handled Chrysler’s social media got Chrysler’s Twitter account confused with his own personal account and tweeted:

“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.”

Obviously, not the best thing for Chrysler to be tweeting as it runs its “Imported from Detroit” campaign. The employee was fired from the agency and Chrysler has severed ties with the agency. However, people took notice and the damage was done.

Follow Up: More on the #MotorCity F-Bomb Tweet

by Ed Garsten

March 10, 2011 1:46 PMWhen a reporter called yesterday snarkily asking, “seen any good tweets lately,” I knew exactly what was coming next — a firestorm across the web regarding an errant tweet by a now-former employee of Chrysler’s social media agency.The tweet denigrated drivers in Detroit and used the fully spelled-out F-word. It was obviously meant to be posted on the person’s personal twitter account, and not the Chrysler Brand account where it appeared.

First, Chrysler did not fire this person since this wasn’t one of our employees. The agency did. It was their decision. We didn’t demand it.

Second, as the day and night wore on, comments on various social media sites increasingly expressed either dismay that someone would lose their job over an online oops and that Chrysler was acting, as one poster put it, “in a stiff, corporate way.” Some posters even asked why we didn’t make light of an accidental “f-bomb.”

So why were we so sensitive? That commercial featuring the Chrysler 200, Eminem and the City of Detroit wasn’t just an act of salesmanship. This company is committed to promoting Detroit and its hard-working people. The reaction to that commercial, the catchphrase “imported from Detroit,” and the overall positive messages it sent has been volcanic.

Indeed, as an automaker that went through the roughest of times just two years ago, we appreciate the challenges Detroit faces in reclaiming its place as a vibrant, world-class city. Inside Detroit, citizens are becoming even more proud of their town, and outside the region, perception of Detroit is rapidly improving.

With so much goodwill built up over a very short time, we can’t afford to backslide now and jeopardize this progress.

We need to keep the momentum going — rebuilding a region and an industry, and not let anything slow us down. It’s what we do.


And clearly Chrysler isn’t that concerned with a family-friendly vibe. The star of their SuperBowl commercial is guilty of dropping content that is far more offensive than an f-bomb during rush hour. The reactionary explanation of the event on Chrysler’s corporate blog did not touch on this issue.

Why, then, did Chrysler react so harshly to the accidental tweet? If it’s not about a single swear word (which, again, considering their relationship with Eminem, is probably not a huge concern for Chrysler execs), it’s more likely the fact that they had no control over its use.

Social media is so human that the line between a thought and a tweet doesn’t have much of a shadow, whereas traditional campaigns are groomed and clipped and edited a thousand times over before making it to the public sphere.


About iovik

Here you go! Hi, I’m not sure what I really should share in this space as I don’t want this blog to be about me (totally lol), but more about the things we study, observe and in general care about. I love digital everything with regard to marketing. I have been working in Promotions and Marketing for over 15 years mostly media, radio and entertainment corporations in New York, Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta and a producer for more than 25. I helped start the rapper/actor/producer 50 Cent aka Boo with my mentor Jam Master Jay. I oversaw the execution of his first records, “The Hit” being one to designing stickers , posters and running down DJ’s like Ron G and DJ Enuff with Dat tapes (do you remember those?). You know I need to write a book about how 50 Cent really started- so much was left out of his book so many people contributed in a major way for example the book does not mention people like K-Love (who produced Onyx) his first A&R and composer of his hottest initial records or Rob Love who would help work the promo vinyl on his own time after Def jam rejected it. To produce and manufacture 50 Cent first recording was no easy feat Def Jam did not want to spend the money on him and Jay did not have the budget, it was only after a conversation with Kenny Dichter ( who wrote a $10,000 check to make it happen, was I able to press and promote his first single… (maybe I will blog more about those and many more stories in greater detail later). I was so excited about that record anyone who has the vinyl will see I made the matrix number my birthdate ( you know as proof just in case the kid made it big you know I did the record hardy ha ha ha). I worked with many people. I’m thankful to have big brothers and people acting like family in music early on extending favor to me like Dallas Austin and Monica T, the Browns @ Bosstown, I miss that B-room (now Stankonia by Outkast) who treated me like family (Bobby Brown’ fam especially Papa Brown and sisters- Lord bless them- nothing but love), and Spyder D ( who taught and later trusted me with so much. Later on I started to represent other brands moving away from branding artist and producers exclusively. I relocated to south to Florida and made a fresh start- from representing artist and bands to managing major brands from Bank of America to Kinect for Xbox 360. I enjoy writing when I can. I hope with this blog, what I write, will not only be educational but a fun interesting read, that will be my goal. But sometimes boring is just plane boring and can’t be fixed, can’t be optimized even digitally, just go with it. Remember we are all perfectly imperfect- It’s a new day, Carpe Diem! Any ole way... Here you go! DSKivoi follow me on twitter linkedIn: Facebook Skype: D.S.Kivoi
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4 Responses to Watch what you say.. Or Tweet.

  1. Great Post… it explains how important it is to double check what your writing before executing it out to the internet for millions to read. The need to think before actually posting something whether on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site is necessary especially if your in charge of exposing or advertising words, pictures or videos online for a company.

    ~ KellyAnn Thomas

  2. I agree with KellyAnn that it is important to double check nowadays. I think the automotive industry has done a good job using SM tools and this was just an unfortunate accident. I had not heard of this “scandal” before your post. I understand why the agency fired the person but it didn’t really seem to do any damage to the Chrysler brand and for another brief moment it got people talking about Chrysler and the Motor City again. No harm and no foul it would seem on this one.


  3. ashleydole says:

    I feel that Chrysler acted so harshly not because of just the swear word, but because their twitter account offended an entire area of their consumers. I know I would take offense if a large company said that people in Boston can’t drive! (it’s the truth, but I don’t want to be told that by a car company!!) Even though the company didn’t mention this as a reason for their actions, I do feel that it had a lot to do with it!

    • iovik says:

      As Ironic it as it may be… Shame even if he felt that way he would broadcast/publish that even personally knowing his role and the significance of that which he played.

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