Gottfried Gets the Hook
Gilbert Gottfried lost his gig as the voice of the Aflac duck after
posting jokes about the tsunami on his Twitter account. (A
sampling: "Japan called me. They said, "Maybe those jokes are a hit
in the U.S., but over here they're all sinking.' ") The comic's
quips were particularly off-base given that the insurance giant
reportedly earned 75% of its 2010 revenues in Japan.
Qantas Grounds Dreams
The Australian airline had awful timing in launching a Twitter
contest in November in which it asked followers to describe their
"dream luxury in-flight experience" and pledged to award top
tweeters with pajamas and toiletries. Qantas and its unions had
stopped contract talks the day before, and customers were still
smarting from the grounding of the entire fleet in October. They
retaliated by hijacking the campaign's hashtag, #QantasLuxury,
generating thousands of angry tweets.
Shooting an Elephant
The largest U.S. web domain registry company, GoDaddy, was subject
to massive backlash after its CEO, Bob Parsons, tweeted a link to a
video of himself shooting an elephant in Zimbabwe. People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals led an effort urging a boycott of
GoDaddy, and competitors tried to capitalize by offering discounted
transfer rates and even making donations to elephant charities.
But,, although the outcry was loud, GoDaddy seemed to emerge
Every conceivable thing seemed to go wrong for Netflix when it
announced in September its plan to spin off its DVD-rental service
into a separate site called Qwikster. The company also failed to
obtain the Twitter handle @Qwikster, operated by a foul-mouthed
stoner who enjoyed his newfound celebrity in a series of tweets.
Netflix killed Qwikster three weeks later, but 800,000 subscribers
wound up quitting the service in the third quarter.
Kutcher Has Paterno's Back
"Two and a Half Men" star Ashton Kutcher was rebuked last month
after tweeting to the 8.5 million followers of his @aplusk account,
"How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #no class as a hawkeye fan I find
it in poor taste." He later confessed that he wasn't up on the
alleged Penn State child-abuse scandal and apologized via Twitter.
But the firestorm continued, and he ultimately wrote on his blog
that management of his Twitter account was being turned over to his
Micky's Big Mouth
Micky Arison, the Miami Heat owner and Carnival Cruises founder and
chairman, was fined $500,000 by the NBA last month for tweeting
about the lockout after the league had specifically banned it. He
retweeted lockout-related posts, and in an exchange with a user
accusing owners of greed, he said, "Honestly u r barking at the
wrong owner." His fine was five times as big as those levied on
Charlotte's Michael Jordan and Washington's Ted Leonsis for their
public comments about the lockout.
Ragu Incites Backlash
The Unilever tomato
sauce brand Ragu earned the wrath of fathers this fall after
creating a seemingly innocuous video of moms sounding off on the
haplessness of their husbands in the kitchen and sending it to
prominent dad bloggers on Twitter. It didn't go viral in the way
the social-marketing team had probably hoped, since some recipients
of the links took to their blogs and Twitter accounts to denounce
the company for hating on dads.