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Brands Show How NOT To Use Twitter On Martin Luther King Day

It's not surprising that brands jump on the bandwagon when a popular holiday comes around - especially one as important as Martin Luther King Day. Marketers are keen to use these topics to push their own brand - and what better platform to do this on than Twitter?

It’s not surprising that brands jump on the bandwagon when a popular holiday comes around – especially one as important as Martin Luther King Day. Marketers are keen to use these topics to push their own brand – and what better platform to do this on than Twitter?

While some companies manage to promote themselves on these days with class and dignity, others make an absolute pig’s ear of it and spark the dreaded Twitter backlash.

Martin Luther King Day took place last week and brands began sharing their tributes and/or his inspirational quotes from their Twitter accounts, varying from a simple “Happy MLK Day” to full-blown images, quotes, hashtags, the lot.

American fashion retailer Nordstrom paid tribute to the civil rights activist with a simple tweets and quote from the man himself with no branding, logo or anything attached.


 

 

 

There was no pushiness or ulterior motive with this tweet, but the simplicity of it meant that it would position Nordstrom in a good light and encourage retweets to extend its reach.

Lesson: Simplicity and lack of branding on sensitive subjects will go far.

McDonald’s also posted a sincere statement regarding Martin Luther King Day. While theirs was branded and did directly mention the company itself, it did so in a tasteful manner and was relevant to its business practices.

 

The fast food outlet posted a brief statement outlining its equal opportunities policy and how it has been inspired by Martin Luther King. A clever, thoughtful and smart approach.

Lesson: If a sensitive event is directly linked to your brand policy, use it to raise awareness, not to boost sales.

But, while there were some effective and sophisticated tributes to the man who led the civil rights movement, there were also some truly awful advertising campaigns surrounding the day.

First up, online retailer hats.com took the extremely tacky approach of using MLK Day to boost sales:

 

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day with a hat fromhttp://t.co/z03orMGdBh #MLKDay

— hats.com (@HatsdotCom)January 20, 2014

 

Not only does this reek of desperation, but it also trivialises an important day in history. Celebrate Martin Luther King Day by wearing a hat? Erm, no thanks.

Lesson: Making an extremely tenuous link to a major political holiday? Don’t bother. The public will see straight through you.

Finally, the biggest fail of them all came from animal activists PETA, who waded into dangerous territory when using MLK Day to highlight their campaign against animal cruelty.

 

The tweet included a link to a page on PETA’s website with Martin Luther King quotes over pictures of tortured animals. Not surprisingly, this sparked outrage among Twitter users who lambasted the charity for using the day to draw attention to their own campaigns.

Some even went as far as accusing PETA of comparing black people to animals with one user saying: “Um@peta I don’t know if anyone told you but MLK fought for the equality of black people – who are not animals.”

The campaign was a huge mistake on behalf of the charity’s marketing team, but one that they continued throughout the day despite anger from Twitter users across the globe.

 

Lesson: Don’t blatantly use a sensitive subject for your brand’s personal gain, and, if your campaign is getting abuse: stop it.

So, what do you think of these uses of Martin Luther King Day in companies’ marketing campaigns? Are there any others you saw that stood out to you?

Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @BubbleJobs:)

 

This article was previously published here http://www.bubble-jobs.co.uk/blog/social-media-2/brands-show-use-twitter-mlk-day/ 

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