‘Ask R. Kelly’ – Twitter Trending Gone Wrong

R&B crooner R. Kelly recently took a different approach toward marketing his new album, turning to Twitter for publicity. While he did attract lots of media attention, dominating the Twitter trending topics, things didn’t go quite as well as his PR team may have anticipated.

Topping the Twitter trends usually serves as a laudable feat, but there are instances when trending goes absolutely awry. Just ‘Ask R.Kelly’.

The recent #AskRKelly hash-tag was created by Kelly’s PR team as a way for the platinum-selling artist to connect with fans and market his new album, Black Panties, which was released Tuesday, December 10. However, things definitely didn’t go as planned.

According to PolicyMic, this particular executive decision may have been “one of the dumbest, calculated PR moves Twitter has seen in a while.” It all started the day the album was slated to be released.

The “Ignition” singer tweeted that he would be doing an online question/answer session with fans. He also went on to assure fans that he would be the one replying and answering any questions the fans had. Big mistake!

Now, for most artists, this may have been a positive way to draw the attention of fans. However, in R. Kelly’s case, fans only wanted him to address a plethora of past imprudent shortcomings – his past rape charges, alleged sex tape, and sexual history with underage females.

Then, the other issue is the title of his new album, which only reflects the nature of his alleged past. Immediately after Kelly posted the tweet, the grueling interrogation began. Thousands of tweets came pouring in as people began to slam the “Trapped in the Closet” singer with derogatory jokes and sexual innuendos about the nature of pedophiles, urinating, and obscene sexual voyeurism. All of the bashing tweets were quite elucidating, as fans cut no corners stating their disdain for Kelly’s poor decisions and actions of the past.

In an effort to move past the embarrassment from the “Twitter Massacre,” Kelly answered only 16 questions of no relation to any of his past indiscretions. However, his decision to ignore all the allegations didn’t sit well with fans either.

It’s been four days, and the topic is still trending on Twitter under a number of new hash-tags. Tags like “Twitter Massacre,” and “Black Twitter,” which mocks the title of Kelly’s album, have begun to pop up with even more distasteful tweets.

One can only wonder how R. Kelly’s management will respond to the situation, as his PR team obviously did not take into consideration the negative backlash the singer would suffer from such a hasty marketing decision. However, from a different perspective, the situation may actually diffuse itself without any explanations. The sales will tell the story.

Fans will just have to wait until Tuesday when first week sales reports are released to dictate whether the publicity stunt was “absolutely brilliant” or an “epic fail.” According to SOHH, Black Panties has been projected to edge 100,000 copies in its first week. The old cliche’ says that all press is good press, and numbers don’t lie. So, Kelly’s sales should provide much clarity.

R. Kelly’s Black Panties is now available on iTunes, and MyPlay Direct.