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Does KitchenAid’s Rogue Tweet Really Matter?

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If you check out KitchenAid’s tweets around the time of last night’s United States presidential debate, this is what you’ll find:

kitchenaid tweet

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?


Feedback

9
  • James Dabbagian

    I have to agree. I really don’t see this hurting the brand, short run or long run. After all, it obviously was not an official opinion of the company. This will eventually boil over and be forgotten.

    However, I’m betting that whoever the heck posted that probably isn’t going to land a social media gig anytime soon. If they aren’t fired, you can bet that anything they post will be heavily scrutinized.

    • Allison

      Yeah, it would be really hard for any company to trust that person after this. It wasn’t the fact it was a rogue tweet, but rather the fact that it was so detestable.

  • Ric

    Sure it matters – as another example of a brand not managing their social media well. And in this case, it isn’t that the gaffe occurred – gaffes WILL happen. The problem with KitchenAid is how very slowly they responded.

    • jet

      Does it matter? Check out the comments Kitchenaid’s fb page.

      https://www.facebook.com/#!/KitchenAid?fref=ts

      • Allison

        I’ve seen the negative comments, but I still have to wonder – does it really matter? Some people are being vocal about never buying KitchenAid again or even selling their KA stuff, but when push comes to shove, I don’t believe all of those people will really hold true to their word if a KA is the best product or best price for what they need. Some might, but I don’t know that I believe it will make a difference on KA’s sales charts. In a few months, I think most people will forget this eve happened unless it becomes a problem again.

    • Allison

      Isn’t it funny how demanding we have grown? Even though this happened well after business hours, the tweet was taken down within the half hour (I’m not exactly sure how fast – all I know is when I went to take a screenshot a half hour later it was gone), an apology also went out on Facebook soon after, and today, their brand rep has been talking to outlets such as Mashable to reiterate how sorry they are and how they are correcting the problem. Ten or twenty years ago, we would have considered a reply within two or three business days to be fast.

  • Megan Enloe

    I think the important lesson is not to be a troll to begin with. The tweet was mean spirited and trollish. Anyone who tweets for a living knows it’s easy to accidentally tweet on the wrong account. I have defaults set to my personal account. So it is more often that client tweets accidentally go on my personal account. But if I accidentally posted personal tweets to a client account they would not be offensive ones. Like it or not, you represent your brand. Even when posting under your own name or pseudonym it may be traced back to your brand. I don’t think the person should be fired for posting a personal opinion accidentally on the kitchenaid account. I would consider firing the person for being a troll.

    • Allison

      I can buy that argument. While I don’t like employers dictating what you can and cannot say from your personal account, even if that tweet had come from the person’s personal account, it was completely classless. I wouldn’t want classless employees.

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