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Posted on 03.26.2015

Social Media Backlash: Is it Wrong or Are We Just Overreacting?

It seems like we hear of a social media campaign (sometimes more than one!) gone wrong every week.

Just last week both Starbucks and Bud Light came under fire for their recent social media campaigns. Critics blasted the coffee company for using race relations as a gimmick with its #RaceTogether campaign, and commenters claimed the beer brand’s St. Patrick’s Day tweet promoted rape culture by combining the slogan ‘Up For Whatever’ with the holiday tradition of pinching.

While we can almost guarantee there was no mal-intent behind their messages, the marketing and social media teams for these brands were just doing their jobs: being creative and thought-provoking, while trying to stay relevant and stand out among the crowd. Unfortunately, we live in a time where messages are overly scrutinized and the potential for misinterpretation is great.

The good news is many companies can learn to avoid similar situations with a few quick steps to ensure a message is received clearly. These necessary steps, including seeking out many different perspectives if the subject matter is sensitive, should no doubt be part of the planning process for any social media post or campaign.

We want to know what you think. Are we overreacting? Where is the line between something actually being wrong and the public just looking for something to be wrong?


Carolyn Edwards is a Senior Account Executive at Lovell Communications. Connect with Carolyn at carolyn@lovell.com, or @carolyn_wahl. 

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