Hashtag Woes: Lessons From The Ice Challenge

Hashtag Woes: Lessons From The Ice Challenge

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Hashtags – the little bookmarks of the internet are also one of the most exploited tools in social media campaigns. Brands use these all the time to promote themselves and get their campaigns trending. However, every once in a while, this strategy can backfire leading to really confusing situation for the brand as well as the brand\’s followers. We have picked one such incident where two very different social media campaigns used the exact same hashtag for promotion leading to an ocean of confused fans and of course a few hearty laughs.

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The hashtag in limelight for all the wrong reasons is Ice Challenge. It was chosen to promote two very different types of causes. The first one was used with the intention of creating awareness about breast cancer and the second one by Moet & Chandon was for their Sea & White photo contest – both of which used #icechallenge as their main hashtag. So you might imagine the plight of the marketers as well as fans when both the campaigns went live. Those searching for pictures of yachts and champagne ended up looking at hundreds of people taking pictures of themselves taking an ice cold shower.

Moet & Chandon

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The campaign from Moet & Chandon was a typical social media photo contest where the fans were asked to share images that best illustrated their theme for the month of July which was Sea & White. Moet & Chandon asked their fans to share these images with #IceChallenge and this is where everything went wrong. The marketers failed to check and verify if the hashtag was already in use. As a result, a well planned campaign goes down the drain and the brand gets ridiculed for poor execution. Basically, the marketers at Moet & Chandon have to wade their way through a tsunami of online reputation management. This is perhaps the reason why they have also included #moeticechallenge as a hashtag to be used for the contest but not before vigorously promoting #IceChallenge.

Lessons to be learnt

  1. Always do your homework before launching a social media campaign. It is always the finer details that make a huge difference (in this case the poor research and hashtag selection).
  2. Double check your homework. Even if you have planned a campaign, it doesn\’t hurt to go over it once more before launching it does it?
  3. Be quick to rectify your mistakes. Okay mistakes do happen we are after all just human. Not rectifying your mistake is something that is not forgivable especially when an impending disaster threatens to ruin you completely. So if you find yourself in a similar situation, be quick with the damage control. Nobody will hold an apology against you.

Cancer Awareness Drive

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Driving awareness for the cause of cancer is a very noble cause. From giving away donations in exchange for motor boats from girls to dumping a bucket of icy cold water on yourself, the internet is not short of downright bizarre campaigns aimed at spreading awareness. The #IceChallenge is one of the many such bizarre awareness drives. It is hard to understand how dumping a buckets of icy cold water on yourself can help drive any form of awareness towards breast cancer which has resulted in the campaign being ridiculed widely on social media at its lack of sense.

you would think a campaign that focuses on cancer awareness and fundraising would actually mention cancer #IceChallenge

— Catherine Hume (@cathume83) July 15, 2014

#IceChallenge just wasn\’t complete until parents started gettin their Toddlers & Infants to do it aye……Fux sakes…

— TheBlackSheep.com (@LivinOffTheGrid) July 10, 2014

When designing a campaign always make something meaningful. If it is about cancer, don\’t leave out cancer from the cause even if you think getting completely drenched in cold water is a lot of fun.

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About Marian Dsouza

Marian Dsouza is a digital marketing professional focused on content and social media marketing. He is currently a Webjournalist with Beta21 working on analyzing current social media trends to provide useful insights that can help brands improve their digital marketing strategies.
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