We all know what can happen to brands when their reps screw up on Twitter. "Comedian" Gilbert Gottfried embarrassed Aflac with racially insensitive remarks after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. And Kenneth Cole turned the start of the Arab Spring in Egypt into a tasteless sales pitch.
Sweden might have learned a lesson about social-media stewardship from those (and many, many other examples -- Microsoft's shilling Amy Winehouse's last album right after her death?) but ... apparently not.
In what sounds like a cool idea to boost tourism, Sweden has handed over its Twitter handle, @sweden, to a different Swedish citizen each week.
However, on his show last night, Stephen Colbert pointed out that while honesty and transparency are certainly hallmarks of any good campaign, there are limits:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Operation Artificial Swedener|
Never fear, though. Even though the program is currently open only to citizens of Sweden, Mr. Colbert wants to help. He's asking the formidable Colbert Nation (3.5 million Twitter followers strong, compared with @sweden's 34,000) to petition the government to let him tweet for Sweden by emailing email@example.com or tweeting with the hashtag #artificialSwedener.
Can he do it? The man has testified before Congress, skewered the Republicans as their invited guest at the White House Correspondents Dinner and gotten the notoriously cranky recluse (now late) Maurice Sendak to endorse a book about a pole. My money's on yes.