My EMA colleague Evan Bloom pointed out a bit of a dustup involving Scottish Singer Susan Boyle, who burst on the scene in 2009 with a voice from the angels that seemingly came out of no where, as did she.
The issue is a promotional Tweet from her social media people at her record company that they either did not carefully proofread, or, worse, thought was funny and would create buzz to sell her latest album.
The Tweet promoted an album release party. #susanalbumparty is Susan+album+party. But it’s just as easily read: #su’s anal bum party.
“On the face of it this may be very funny – to some – but stop and think for a minute how often a hashtag is actually checked before it is used. As you well know a social media storm can erupt from Tweeting without considering the content of the Tweet – the hashtag should not be forgotten. Clearly someone will be checking their hashtags in the future.”
From the Daily Mail story:
To promote the star’s new album Standing Ovation, an out-of-hour social media team used her official Twitter account @SusanBoyleHQ to send a tweet ending in a ‘hashtag,’ where key words are joined together and preceded by a hash sign. The hashtag read #susanalbumparty.
Clever or just rather naive? The tweet, which could be read one of two ways, was soon trending worldwide
Twitter users quickly realised that while it was supposed to read ‘Susan album party,’ it could also have another meaning.
Soon it was ‘trending’ as it became one of the most retweeted, or repeated, Twitter hashtags in the world.
Capital FM presenter Lisa Snowdon said: ‘I don’t think Susan Boyle’s record company thought this hashtag through properly.’
Twitter user Paul de Bruin said: ‘Is this PR genius or huge fail? #fail.’
It is believed the double entendre was unintentional, and the singer’s PR team declined to comment but deleted the tweet.
Clearly the takeaway here is that hashtags are not throw aways, especially if they’re used to promote a client or individual who could be embarrassed.
In the end, there’s no doubt that however unintentional, more people worldwide know about Boyle’s newest album than ever would have otherwise. Nonetheless, it’s a cheap win and hurts her and her record company’s reputations.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with seven offices in the Northeast and Southeast. Learn more about EMA at http://www.mower.com. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.