Companies are constantly on the search for new and effective ways to promote themselves and their products. Since the turn of the decade, social media such as Twitter, Facebook and a raft of others have presented themselves as another outlet for companies to sell themselves and drill their products into the minds of consumers. Companies would be foolish not to take advantage, but things don’t always go to plan, whether it be a rogue member of staff, incredibly poor timing or a calamitous typo. Sometimes it’s even the way they deal with the fallout, hurling apology after apology as if ‘sorry’ is the only English word they know.

Anyway, I have picked a few of my favourite bloopers from the depths of Twitter. Enjoy!

Bank of America Workers Fail the Turing Test

It was an unfortunate event for the Bank of America. After a graffiti artist was chased away from one of their branches by the police, Twitter did not respond in a pleasant manner. A number of hateful tweets were posted about the bank, but their response only fanned the flames further. In reply to the spiteful remarks, the Bank sent a number of tweets to various complainers asking if they needed help with their accounts. What was worse, is that these responses were not automated whatsoever; they had been written by perfectly free-willed human beings.

Bing “Exploits” Earthquake Victims

After the dreadful Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan in 2011, thinking they were doing the right thing, Bing launched a campaign to raise money for the victims. They thought that they would win over people’s hearts by donating $1 for every retweet their appeal got, up to a limit of $100,000. However, people were outraged, denouncing the campaign as a manipulative marketing stunt. Bing were forced to apologise and donated the $100k anyway.

Blackberry tries (and fails) to save its doomed brand

As the old Blackberry system began to be dwarfed by the likes of Android and iOS, resulting in a crippling loss of profit, the company launched a marketing stunt to try and regain its previous popularity. They created a team of four cartoon superheroes who were meant to represent the brand as a fun and – what they thought to be creative – idea. As it turned out, the company was widely berated and mocked for their idea. The #BeBold hashtag came back to haunt Blackberry as it was ruthlessly used to carry criticism.

The NYPD PR Backfires

In order to increase its social media presence, the NYPD launched a Twitter campaign asking for users to tweet pictures of themselves with New York police officers, using the hashtag #myNYPD. Somehow they didn’t realise that the vast majority of users would take advantage of the campaign, posting images of police brutality and abuse with sarcastic captions.

So, there are some ways you can avoid ruining your business in the future, or maybe on the other hand some ways you can get back at the companies who let you down or were insensitive to serious events.

Written by Tom Paterson, Guest Blogger