Social media managers across the nation are likely sweating bullets - and putting new security mechanisms in place - after an errant Tweet led Chrysler to fire its social media agency, New Media Strategies.
Yesterday morning an NMS staffer tweeted from the @ChryslerAutos account, "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive." Coming from a company that has staked its brand identity on loyalty to a resurgent Detroit, the flub was especially appalling - hence the harsh reaction. The Twitter account in question has just over 8,000 followers.
"So why were we so sensitive?" Chrysler wrote in a blog post today. "That commercial featuring the Chrysler 200, Eminem and the City of Detroit wasn’t just an act of salesmanship. This company is committed to promoting Detroit and its hard-working people. The reaction to that commercial, the catchphrase 'imported from Detroit,' and the overall positive messages it sent has been volcanic."
According to Chrysler and NMS, the unnamed employee had intended to send the message from his or her personal account. The agency canned the staffer - not at Chrysler's request, the automaker emphasized - but it wasn't enough to save the relationship.
NMS issued this statement: "New Media Strategies regrets this unfortunate incident. It certainly doesn’t accurately reflect the overall high-quality work we have produced for Chrysler. We respect their decision and will work with them to ensure an effective transition of this business going forward."
Each of Chrysler's brands will assume day-to-day responsibility for its own social media efforts until the company assesses its needs and names a new social media agency, a Chrysler spokesperson said.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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