Jarter Jargon

Hurricane Sandy: A Social Disaster

Posted on: October 31, 2012

The past few days have been very tense for the eastern seaboard. Hurricane Sandy has been tearing across New Jersey, New York, and other states leaving destruction in its path. Hundreds of thousands are without food and power, and many are turning to social media to find loved ones, reassure family (During Sandy, 30 million+ tweets sent, after Sandy, the top Facebook status is “We Are OK.”), and keep a captivated America connected to what’s happening in real time.

I for one have been keeping track with a #HurricaneSandy stream on my Hootsuite deck. It is truly amazing to see the outreach offered by people. Tweets of prayers for safety, Red Cross donation channels, and overall general concern for those involved are the majority of messages. However, there have been a string of comments, Twitter accounts, and corporate slip-ups that try to bring light to a subject that is devastating for millions.

Really, it’s just not funny, and those who are affected by this storm are outraged. Can you blame them?

However, some have taken it too far. On Monday, American Apparel and Gap found themselves on thin ice for their email blast and tweets, respectively.

The American Apparel ad apparently targets people who are seeking refuge during the storm. Needless to say, online backlash has been primarily negative. But American Apparel wasn’t the only culprit.

Gap also rubbed east coast-ers the wrong way as Hurricane Sandy was making its way along. On Monday afternoon, as the storm was touching down in the New York and New Jersey area, Gap tweeted the following:

Again, needless to say, it wasn’t the best thought out plan. The brand later took the tweet down and offered the following semi-apology: 

The Twittersphere blew up once again with outraged tweets.

American Apparel is just one of several companies that have committed online marketing faux pas. Last year, fashion designer Kenneth Cole’s Twitter account made light of the protests in Egypt by tweeting, “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”

What do you think? Are you offended by American Apparel and Gap’s messages during the massive storm? It surprises me that mistakes like these still continue to happen. From the Kitchen Aid fiasco during the Presidential Debate to the mishaps during Hurricane Sandy, it’s about time people controlling these accounts realize the true potential the Internet provides.

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2 Responses to "Hurricane Sandy: A Social Disaster"

[…] Boston Marathon oder Naturkatastrophen wie Hurrikan Sandy für Marketingbotschaften nutzen will (so geschehen bei Gap), muss sich über den folgenden Shitstorm nicht wundern. Oreo hingegen zeigt, wie es richtig geht: […]

[…] Marathon attack or natural catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy to get marketing messages across (like Gap did) shouldn’t be surprised by the Shitstorm that ensues. Oreo, on the other hand, shows how […]

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