Coca-Cola has had to withdraw a gigantic Twitter campaign, and it wasn’t for poor performance, either. A counter-campaign by Gawker is the reason, because they tricked Coca-Cola into tweeting large portions of the introduction to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
Coca-Cola’s #MakeItHappy campaign was put together so Twitter users could take negative tweets, reply with that hashtag, and Coke would take the negative words and turn them into something positive with ASCII art. As Coke tweeted out the image, they would also reply with particular text.
“We turned the hate you found into something happy. RT to make people :).”
As PR Daily reported, it was a simple idea and one that is quite creative. The only problem is that there are people in the world that love to play jokes and take advantage of situations, so they did.
Gawker took it upon themselves to create a tweet bot that could automatically compete against Coke’s campaign. Their goal was to have the Coca-Cola Twitter send out ASCII images that were made of text from Adolf Hitler‘s “Mein Kampf.”
At one point, Gawker noticed that there were “14 words” of “Mein Kampf” re-published in the shape of a dog. That was when the tweet bot was created.
Max Read, editor of Gawker, not only helped make it happen, but then took it out against Coca-Cola.
“Even when the text is shaped like a dog, it is disconcerting to see Coca-Cola, the soda company, urge its social media followers to safeguard the existence and reproduction of white racists.”
For a couple of hours on Tuesday morning, Coca-Cola’s Twitter feed broadcast huge portions of “Mein Kampf” thanks to the tweet bot — @MeinCoke, per the Guardian.
Once Coca-Cola figured out that they had been tricked and they were tweeting out “Mein Kampf” to the world in a supposed positive campaign, they pulled it. A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola sent out a statement regarding the situation.
“The #MakeItHappy message is simple: The Internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It’s unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn’t. Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign.”
Twitter is also not thrilled with pervasive negativity that is online. Chief Executive Dick Costolo wrote an internal memo stating that he was embarrassed that his company could not handle online trolls.
“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.”
“We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.”
Coca-Cola isn’t the first company to be attacked and tricked into doing something on Twitter or other forms of social media. They won’t be the last either, but Twitter is determined to not let issues like that of “Mein Kampf” get past them anymore.
[Image via PR Daily]