If you check out KitchenAid’s tweets around the time of last night’s United States presidential debate, this is what you’ll find:
The “irresponsible tweet” to which they are referring was deleted pretty quickly – but not so quickly that no one noticed. After President Obama talked about his grandmother dying just three days before he got elected, KitchenAid tweeted:
Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’. #nbcpolitics
As David Griner noted on Adweek, it’s going to be a bad Thursday for whoever accidentally tweeted from the KitchenAid account instead of their personal account, and it’s also going to be a bad Thursday for the people who trusted that person.
But I have to wonder: Does a social media flub like this one really hurt the brand?
That tweet was disgusting. I don’t care who you’re voting for – making a joke about someone’s deceased family member is tasteless. There’s no argument about that.
What I’m arguing is that people who want a KitchenAid mixer probably aren’t going to not buy one because of a rogue tweet by someone on their social media staff. I obviously don’t catch every tweet by the company, but I’ve never seen or heard of them tweeting something irresponsible before. They also corrected and apologized for the tweet extremely quickly. If this was a repeat problem or ignored by the company, that might make me stop and think twice about buying a KitchenAid product.
Simply put, however, this single tweet doesn’t. Someday when I have a bigger kitchen, I fully intend to own a bright red KitchenAid mixer, and I will continue to tell people exactly how much I love using the one my mom owns every time I visit her.
Within the hour of the rogue tweet, dozens of blogs and media outlets had already reported it, and several people on Twitter were angrily responding to the tweet. But are we, as an industry, overreacting?
As a consumer, would you not purchase a KitchenAid product just because of this tweet?
As a business owner, would you fire this social media worker, even if he/she had never made a mistake before?