In Hollywood there is that adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Just have to look to Lauren Caitlin Upton,Miss Teen South Carolina 2007--In passing, I caught her on an interview a few weeks ago saying that her YouTube fame has done great things for her career. Go figure.
A European furniture company, Habitat spent last week apologizing for a stunt it pulled on twitter where it took advantage of the situation in Iran to offer a store promotion. But were they actually smiling through those mea culpas?
Here's how they did it. In Twitter you can tag your tweets so that in their search engine someone who wants to follow a particular conversation can find all the tweets on that topic.Last week there were a lot of tweets using the hastag #mousavi.
One of those tweets with the hastag #mousavi included Habitat Furniture's offer;
One message, now removed, said 'Mousavi - Join the database for free to win £1000 gift card'.
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Turns out Habitat didn't just disguise it's offer in hashtaqs for the Iranian crisis. According to Digital Pivot, the company has used hashtags for a variety of topics including the iPhone, Apple and TrueBlood.
In apologizing to the Twitterdom, a spokesperson for Habitat put the blame on an overzealous intern.
The hashtags were uploaded without Habitat’s authorisation by an overenthusiastic intern who did not fully understand the ramifications of his actions. He is no longer associated with Habitat.”
That has as much credibility as Governor Sanford telling people he's taking a hike on the Appalachian trail. Interns are usually supervised. Communication Departments usually monitor the work of interns. If this supposed intern was really left to his/her own devices to take advantage of the hastags than his/her supervisor should be the one to lose their job, not the intern. Please. This is insulting. They didn't know?
Here's what we do know. Until last week many of us had never heard of Habitat Furniture. . Nevertheless, their bad behavior has gotten them coverage in The New York Times as well as hundreds of blogs. Even though they spammed Twitter, the chances are traffic in their stores is on the increase.
Now that consumers are more aware of them, they will be more curious about what the store is all about. It will take a person of unusual ethical standards to resist the temptation to check them out.Now, imagine when you walk into the store you actually discover you really really like their stuff.
As this tweet confirms an apology to twitters by way of a special discount could go a long way.