Mistakenly Marketed

Everyone’s had that “Oh Sh*t” moment when you tweet something you immediately regret, or “like” and ex’s status by accident, or double tap someone’s Instagram that you don’t even follow (don’t act like you haven’t done it). After the initial panic, and urge to jump off the top of Du Bois, you kinda just get over it and move on with your awkward life, hoping that nobody notices.

When something like this happens from a personal account, it usually doesn’t get too much attention. But when large companies do something similar from their verified accounts, they go viral.

During the 2014 Superbowl, one of the biggest social media events thus far, JCPenney tweeted this:

Don’t get me wrong, I like to drink about 15 1-2 beers during the Superbowl, but maybe not if I was in charge of my companies twitter account with over 300K followers.

JCPenney explained the errors were caused by the twitter user wearing mittens, and  not being able to press all the buttons. Is this really a mistake on JCPenney’s part though? An almost bankrupt, pretty much forgotten about company, was one of the most talked about during the Superbowl!? Nothing too damaging to their company came of these tweets, and it actually got people talking about them again.  Do companies do these crazy stunts on purpose, in order to be talked about? Are they pulling a Miley? You know what I’m talking about:


Crazy enough, some companies really do things like this in order to be talked about. Back in 2013, Chipotle claimed to have had their twitter account hacked, and some strange tweets were thrown into the twittersphere:


After a few days, Chipotle actually admitted the “hack” was a publicity stunt in order to promote their 20th anniversary. So this begs the question, could these social media “mistakes” made by companies actually be a beneficial way to market a company? For Chipotle specifically, did this stunt get peoples attention? Yes. And did it get the word out about their 20th anniversary? Yes. And it actually still has me talking about it over a year later.

Times have changed with this new social media age that we live in. A company is no longer ridiculed for a mistake, but instead they do it on purpose to get noticed. Even with the changing times I guess the old saying still stands true, “Any publicity is good publicity”.

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