When Pace Salsa’s parent company, Campbell Soup Co., set up a bot to capture mentions of Pace Salsa on Twitter, they clearly weren’t prepared for the adventure on which they were sent over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
It all started when comedian Kyle Kinane noticed that Pace’s Twitter account had favorited an old tweet of his actually mocking the product. Quickly realizing that something was off, he decided to test the waters with some less-than-complimentary posts about the brand. These, too, were quickly favorited. And so the fun began. With each new tweet, Kinane pushed the boundaries further and further.
Pace eventually caught wind of Kinane’s antics, turned off the bot and apologized for “technical problems with their twitter accounts”. However, the fun was far from over. Kinane went on to share direct messages with Pace employees trying to end this public feud. However, the Pace employees were clearly split on the approach to take with Kinane. Some were trying for amicable ending, while others were clearly upset with Kinane for taking advantage of the brand.
One employee was actually “sent home early” for his outspoken conversation with Kinane. The irony here is that, at this point, the battle had become so public in the Twitter-verse that Kinane had the tables turned on him. Another comedian created a fake account for said employee that was sent home and continued to push the story to new depths, telling Kinane that he was being fired for his actions. Kinane was then beside himself with guilt and did what he could to try and get this person’s job back, only to find out the joke had then been on him.
Thus, a great lesson for brands looking to participate in social media revealed itself. While you can rely on some level of automation to monitor how your brand lives in the social media landscape, there should always be a real person behind the scenes closely watching your activity. You never know when someone will try to take advantage of you or your brand for his or her own benefit. While Pace had some missteps, I do applaud their efforts after the exchange in making light of the situation.
You can see the full story here. Fair warning: many of the tweets are off color at best.
~ Matt Mauriello, Account Director, The S3 Agency