Many a search marketer wouldn't blush at the thought of buying keywords/site traffic to capitalize on searches related to human tragedy. So is Microsoft's newest Twitter gaffe simply a sign that brands take a similar approach to tweet marketing?
At roughly 6:30 a.m. EDT, the company's UK PR @tweetbox360 account authored and posted the following message after evidently garnering in-house approval through the proper channels: "Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking 'Back to Black' over at Zune: http://t.co/rWQb0CK?culture=en-gb".
Winehouse died on Saturday after a public battle with drug addiction. In the last two days, sales for the singer's "Back to Black" album have reportedly skyrocketed by 37 times.
Following the album-push download tweet this morning Microsoft offered the following messages:
Want to win codes for the Summer of Arcade titles? Bastion codes up for grabs at the moment, by playing here
RT @MicrosoftEMEA Summer's here! Make the most of it with cool Xbox Extras, Windows 7 PCs and Games for Windows Phone http://t.co/xQkEozt
But then the company began backpedaling on the Winehouse post. Here are the last two messages from @tweetbox360, which is utilized to promote Xbox news and information.
Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse 'download' tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you.
With Amy W's passing, the world has lost a huge talent. Our thoughts are with Amy's family and friends at this very sad time.
It's not the first time a tweet has seemingly put Microsoft between a rock and a hard place. In March, its search property, Bing, caught flak for attempting to launch a brand-related goodwill marketing effort around the Japan tsunami disaster.
Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
June 20, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT