Declaring the post #NSFW, KFC posted an image of a couple sat on a sofa, with the woman leaning into the man’s lap reaching for a [pixelated] object. Now, I’m no detective, but I’m guessing it’s…Colonel Sander’s chicken.
Seriously, take your mind out of the gutter!
Unfortunately, the social media team’s 23,000+ followers found it sexist – and weren’t afraid to say so.
From cries that the post was encouraging rape culture to jerk chicken innuendos, KFC soon realised the post hadn’t generated the reaction it expected. Under pressure to appease its public, it apologised before deleting the original tweet – but not before it’d been re-tweeted over 1,000 times.
Personally, I don’t think this social media faux pas will feature in the top 10 digital fails of all time, but it’s a good opportunity to ask: what can we learn from brands’ online hiccups?
Know your audience
KFC Australia uses its Twitter account to proactively distribute content as well as respond to customer service enquiries – and it seems to manage both tasks well, with a great sense of humour and tone.
But, on this occasion, it misjudged its followers. If you’re classifying any posts as #NSFW, that’s your cue to check it’s appropriate, suitable, relevant and complements your overarching marketing strategy.
We all know people who publically complain about offensive campaigns only add fuel to the PR fire. Even I couldn’t resist digging out Protein World last year.
Essentially, if you feel the urge to ‘like’ the humorous responses and keep the conversations going, don’t. It’s far wiser to adopt a neutral position, rather than be perceived as
misogynistic / sexist / chauvinistic etc.
Just don’t take too long to apologise. Every minute that goes by suggests you don’t really care, and that you’re not in control.
Get back on the horse
So, one of your tweets didn’t work out. But, that’s no reason to shy away from the control decks.
If anything, spend some time planning great content to capitalise on your new-found attention and ensure people engage with you for the right reasons.
This doesn’t just go for social media, but applies to your marketing and communications teams too. Ensure your company has a clear, integrated policy in place to handle negative comments along with a pipeline of evergreen content that can be rolled out at any time to help manage any hurdles.
Scared you’re about to make a hash of choosing a hashtag? Check out our Prime Time classic on Penguin Books’ #YourMum campaign.