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
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.