If you happen to browse twitter trends regularly, you’ll notice that brands and people abuse trending topics to receive some type of attention. The worst types of these people will write something so outrageous and controversial that other tweeters can’t help but retweet just to express their disdain for their comments. Last weekend, amidst the Aurora, Colorado tragedy, one brand used the trend #Aurora and faced some disastrous backlash. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time a company has capitalized on a tragedy for marketing gain. Just a few months ago, a small company produced shooting target posters in the likeness of Trayvon Martin.
Celeb Boutique, a fashion company that specializes in providing their customers with “celebrity style at highstreet prices” created a twitter uproar with one insensitive tweet this past Friday. The short tweet caused an outrage that filled up my twitter timeline on Friday. As a result, (and as any company would), CelebBoutique tweeted an apology.
Surprisingly, their apologetic tweets did absolutely nothing to quell the outrage flooding the social media site. Most of the tweets were along the lines of “You knew exactly what #Aurora meant” or “I don’t believe you.” So were they believable and was their apology actually genuine?
Some people thought this one tweet would damage their sales and reputation beyond a level of repair. Or would it? We all have heard that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” In the age of social media, this phrase isn’t always applicable to celebrities; it can be argued that it did in the case of Celeb Boutique.
Before this incident, I never heard of the brand Celeb Boutique and I’m sure I’m not alone. But now, that has completely changed. If you Google “CelebBoutique” the first add-on words that come up are “twitter” and “Aurora.” With publications such as the LA Times and NY Daily News reporting on this incident a whole new audience is aware of the brand.
In fact, the company has even made a slight change to their website in anticipation of this new crowd. On their home page, past a fashion product slideshow and on the side, you’ll notice a simple section titled “Unreserved Apology regarding Aurora Tweet. Click to view.” The apology reiterates their regret for their “sloppy” marketing and how it was truly a “genuine mistake.” One thing missing from the extended apology is any type of information about what they did to rectify their “genuine mistake.”
No information regarding the future of the alleged misinformed tweeter and no statement of donating proceeds of the “Aurora Dress” to the victim’s family. But the point of the matter is whether you believe them or not, you’ve moved past the first page of their website so what’s another click to see what type of merchandise they sell? It looks pretty fashionable right? The tweet might have even piqued your curiosity to check out this “Aurora dress.”
I believe that Celeb Boutique knew exactly what they were doing. It was the age-old strategy to use a controversy to garner attention and press. Sure, they may not have sold anything that day, but the bottom line is, Celeb Boutique is now in your memory bank and they have successfully expanded their brand knowledge; even if they had to use a negative approach to get there. In the case of the Travyon Martin targets, the product sold out in a matter of days. Proving that no matter how disgusting the majority of the nation felt about this, their strategy of controversy worked.
Do you think Celeb Boutique’s apology was genuine or just a bunch of words? How do you feel about companies expanding their brand knowledge through such negative strategies?Celeb Boutique, Twitter