5 Social Networking Promotions That Backfired Spectacularly

#2. NYPD Tries Social Media on for Size, Citizens Paint Them a Virtual Hate Mural

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The police aren't bad folks. Sure, there's the errant power-hungry asshole, but for the most part cops are solid community servants, and we should recognize their service. That's what the NYPD thought when they decided to launch the #myNYPD Twitter campaign, asking citizens to post pictures of themselves with their friendly neighborhood police officers. Selected photos would be posted on the NYPD's Facebook page. Likes include: Spider-Man, justice, and mustaches.

It all started out swimmingly ...


... but it didn't take long for the hashtag to turn ugly, and they started getting pictures like this instead:

Dislikes include: Rage Against the Machine, Freedom of Assembly, traditional titty twisters.

Within hours of requesting photos, #myNYPD had become a virtual mural of police aggression, with over 10,000 tweets per hour pouring in from over 110,000 tweeters. It became the top trending topic on Twitter, dethroning #justmorlockthings and #freemegatron.

The Mets immediately signed him to bat cleanup.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton blew the whole affair off, saying "I kind of welcome the attention" and "Oftentimes police activities are lawful, but look awful." We wonder what Bratton's rap name is.

Just be glad we didn't show the dude getting the "prostate exam."

The #myNYPD debacle snowballed across the country, inspiring #myLAPD, as well as counterparts in Seattle, San Francisco, and Denver. Sadly, none of those departments' commissioners approached their disintegrating public image with quite the lyrical levity of B Bratty.

#1. J.P. Morgan's Twitter Q&A (Obviously) Turns Ugly

John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It's tough being a marketing shill for a major bank these days. Not only is your business pretty much indistinguishable from the competition, but everyone's all uppity about how your actions helped flush the entire world economy down the shitter or whatever.

Looking to create some engagement on social media, J.P. Morgan set up a Twitter Q&A with one of their high-level executives in order to allow the unwashed Internet masses brief access to one of their golden gods. What could possibly go wrong, other than everything?

New to the Internet, are we?

If it seems like a bad idea now, keep in mind that at the time of the Q&A, $JPM (or JPMoney, as the kids these days steadfastly refuse to call them) was right in the middle of their financial, legal, and moral "troubles." To be more specific, J.P. Morgan was under investigation by the Justice Department for eight shades of shadiness -- including bribery in Asia and a relationship with Bernie Madoff -- not to mention the fact that they were poised for a $13 billion settlement with Uncle Sam over mortgage securities fraud that may or may not have booted us into the deep end of the recession pool without so much as a pity floaty.

The response wasn't exactly of the "squealing fan girls watching the Beatles" level that the executives were hoping for.


More like "Mark David Chapman meets John Lennon."

It's baffling how anybody at the company thought, for even a split second, that this campaign would work out in their favor -- as one New York marketer put it in an interview with Seriously Obvious Advice Magazine: "If you're in the banking industry with what's happened over the last five years, it might not be a good idea to go out and solicit comments on social media." The bank realized their blunder and called the Q&A off within six hours of its announcement. On the upside, those six hours still hold the record for the highest FYPS (Fuck Yous Per Second) in human history.

"We now want everyone to submit a 500-word essay detailing what they would do if they
found our CEO handcuffed to his desk. Be creative!"

Check out more funniness at Laffington.com or Chris' Twittery thingy. Russ writes and creates audio stories for the Rapidian and occasionally appears on the Fluxtaposed gaming podcast.

Related Reading: There are a lot of things social networking sites need to stop doing. Like claiming they need your private data to protect your private data. It's possible these things might even be bad for society. Cracked made that compelling case before. If you're curious as to how people in prison use social media, click here.

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