Starbucks tweet asks Irish customers why they're proud to be British

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

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31 Comments

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Most tweets are the same on @StarbucksUK and @StarbucksIE, which is understandable since people in both countries speak English. So, this was just an honest mistake, someone who just pasted the new tweet and sent it out to both English countries.

It's just a funny mistake and nothing more than that

It's a bit poor when people get all offended by been called <insert nationality> when they are in fact <insert another nationality>.
I am English but you can ask me if i am proud to be Scottish, Irish, French, German... etc.. I wont get mad. It should not matter to anyone.

"was only meant to be sent to our British Twitter followers as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations"

bull****. This is the same crap we get all the time from companies that think the Internet exists around themselfs. I see it all the time on facebook as well. The Big Bang Theory. 'watch our preview of tomorrow nights show on cbs.com' *Click* 'you are a pirate, no cbs access to you!'
At the same time, I'm seeing giffgaff network (the sponsors on the UK big bang theory shows) posting about tomorrows night show as well. So frustrating. If they're not wanting to do it world wide, don't post on a world wide community where you're openly inviting people to join/follow.

It's something I'm used to hearing over the years, many people and businesses mistake us for being British all the time. It's a little irritating but it's not something I'd kick up a major fuss about. I believe Starbucks are mostly situated in Dublin anyway so I understand where they came from with that tweet

Jelly2003 said,
Nice to see that Starbucks knows just as much about the Irish as they do about making decent coffee :-P

they got burned on this like they burn their coffee!

Aergan said,
Well done for potentially endangering all your N.I. staff Starbucks. Universally stupid, man.

Drama queen much?

For those that don't "get" why this is a massive facepalm, it's a bit like (but much worse than) asking a Canadian what it's like to be American. Or What it's like for a Palestinian to be Jewish.

Even though it's not as bad as it once was, there are people in Ireland that are still very much opposed to England - people still get shot, people still riot and cause lots of damage and occasionally, some idiots still try to make a bomb and blow either themselves or someone else up. this isn't history, this still happens today. The entire North of Ireland still shuts down on the 12th of July because certain people want to march down certain streets that other people don't want them to - I mean it, the entire north shuts down because of this, because it's not worth leaving your house due to the fact that you might get caught up in some trouble.

Kushan said,
it's a bit like (but much worse than) asking a Canadian what it's like to be American.

Believe me, I've been told I sound American, even though I'm Canadian, and then asked where in America am I from, it is insulting.

Kushan said,
I mean it, the entire north shuts down because of this, because it's not worth leaving your house due to the fact that you might get caught up in some trouble.

The 12th of July is starting to be celebrated on both sides of the divide. I can see how a lot of people would rather stay away from it all but you make it sound like if you leave your house you are either going to get attacked or worse. It simply isn't that way at all. Don't be a prat and you won't be targeted and everyone did this then there is no reason why all should be able to enjoy.

With regards to Starbucks though that was a bad oversight BUT it is only the people that are still living in the dark ages that should be offended by this. Oh dear someone called an Irish person British.....I live in Belfast, anytime I go anywhere bar this island (NI & ROI) I am told I am Irish which I am not! I don't get offended by it and cannot understand why others do!

Idiots that need to grow up and step into the 1990's let alone the noughties!

Kushan said,
For those that don't "get" why this is a massive facepalm, it's a bit like (but much worse than) asking a Canadian what it's like to be American. Or What it's like for a Palestinian to be Jewish.

Even though it's not as bad as it once was, there are people in Ireland that are still very much opposed to England - people still get shot, people still riot and cause lots of damage and occasionally, some idiots still try to make a bomb and blow either themselves or someone else up. this isn't history, this still happens today. The entire North of Ireland still shuts down on the 12th of July because certain people want to march down certain streets that other people don't want them to - I mean it, the entire north shuts down because of this, because it's not worth leaving your house due to the fact that you might get caught up in some trouble.

Thankfully Irish are generally well above nationalistic crap you see in so many other countries. I imagine most of them couldn't give a crap about stuff like this.

Asrokhel said,

Believe me, I've been told I sound American, even though I'm Canadian, and then asked where in America am I from, it is insulting.

But actually where in America is a valid question because Canada it is part of North America. yeah yeah but I know most think America is the "united states" of america. They forget Canada or for that matter central and south america

smooth_criminal1990 said,
Not for the same reasons Americans should be proud to be British

As an American, I came here to say something like this. Well played.

Martin5000 said,
I don't understand?

Ireland fought for independence from the British Empire just as the US did. So this makes just as much sense as asking why an American is proud to be British. Though with slightly more recent bad blood in the case of Ireland/Britain (see the Manchester Bombing)...

"and quite a lot of blood has been spilt over the years to get us to this point."
What point is that? Completely bankrupt?
They admitted it was a mistake, move on.

the better twin said,
"and quite a lot of blood has been spilt over the years to get us to this point."
What point is that? Completely bankrupt?
They admitted it was a mistake, move on.

Because the UK is doing so well right now?

Regardless of whether or not they apologised, to an Irish person it's pretty offensive to be called British. To steal Kushan's analogy below, it's akin to calling a Palestinian an Israeli to some Irish people.

rpsgc said,

Because the UK is doing so well right now?

Well, the credit rating of the UK is still AAA with a stable outlook while the credit rating of Ireland is BBB+ with a negative outlook.

And the UK is one of the better countries at managing the crisis.

Majesticmerc said,
Regardless of whether or not they apologised, to an Irish person it's pretty offensive to be called British. To steal Kushan's analogy below, it's akin to calling a Palestinian an Israeli to some Irish people.

To be honest it's pretty offensive to most people in the UK. The Scottish, Welsh, and English don't like to be lumped into one category either. In fact it goes even further than that if you include regional loyalties. North vs South, Geordies, Liverpudlians, Yorkshire men, Cornish, Midlanders, etc.