The last four days have seen enormous celebrations in the United Kingdom, where Brits have been marking the Diamond Jubilee and the sixtieth year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As with any national occasion, big brands have been keen to align themselves with events here in the UK, with all sorts of promotional activities cashing in on the festivities, and efforts across social networks to connect with customers at a time of national unity and high spirits.
One such company that attempted to join in the action was the global coffee giant, Starbucks. As the extended Diamond Jubilee weekend began to draw to a close yesterday, the Twitter feed for Starbucks Ireland (@StarbucksIE) sent out a tweet to more than two thousand followers, hoping to get them excited about a competition:
If your geopolitical awareness is as poor as that of Starbucks, you’ll probably need to be reminded that Ireland is not part of the UK, and quite a lot of blood has been spilt over the years to get us to this point. The UK is, in fact, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while the Republic of Ireland to the south is wholly independent from the UK, and a member state of the European Union in its own right. Bundling the Irish in with the Brits, and then asking why the Irish are proud to be British, is contentious, to say the least.
Many of the replies to the tweet came from surprised or angry customers demanding a reply for this insult. Some were able to merely laugh off the screw-up, but most of the commentary on Twitter was either negative or derisory of Starbucks' staff.
As The Guardian reported, Starbucks sent out a tweet a few hours later, explaining that the earlier tweet had been intended exclusively for the UK market, but had erroneously been shared with the Ireland feed too. The company later issued a statement on the matter:
The tweet, which was only meant to be sent to our British Twitter followers as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations, was erroneously posted to our Irish Twitter page. We apologise to all our customers and followers in Ireland and hope that they will forgive our mistake.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen things go terribly wrong for a big brand on Twitter. Last year, McDonalds management watched in horror as a hashtag campaign to encourage customers to tell their feel-good stories of happy memories at McDonalds restaurants was quickly misappropriated by Twitter users, who hijacked the hashtag and used it to share stories of culinary horror, gastric devastation and other McTastrophes.
Source: The Guardian