Social Media Fails: Brands That Bounced Back From the Brink

In the fast-paced world of social media, a single misstep can quickly escalate into a full-blown crisis. From poorly worded tweets to insensitive ad campaigns, brands have faced their fair share of social media fails. However, some companies have demonstrated remarkable resilience, returning from the brink of disaster and emerging stronger than ever. In this article, we’ll explore a few notable examples of brands that weathered the storm and lived to tell the tale.


DiGiorno Pizza: #WhyIStayed

In 2014, DiGiorno Pizza found itself in hot water after using the hashtag #WhyIStayed, which was intended to promote its frozen pizza products. Unfortunately, the hashtag was being used by domestic violence victims to share their experiences, creating an unfortunate and insensitive juxtaposition. DiGiorno swiftly apologized and removed the tweet, acknowledging their mistake and demonstrating empathy for those affected by domestic violence. Their prompt and sincere response helped mitigate the fallout, allowing the brand to recover and maintain a positive reputation.


Adidas: Boston Marathon Email

In 2017, Adidas inadvertently sent an email with the subject line “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” to customers who had not participated in the event. The poorly worded email was particularly tone-deaf, given the tragic bombing that occurred at the 2013 Boston Marathon. Adidas promptly apologized, stating that the email was “incredibly insensitive” and vowed to review their processes to prevent such mistakes in the future. While the incident sparked outrage, Adidas’ sincere apology and commitment to improvement helped the brand regain consumer trust.


Crocs: “Ugly” But Comfortable

Crocs, the iconic foam clog brand, faced widespread mockery and criticism for their unconventional design. However, the company embraced the “ugly” perception and leaned into their comfort and practicality. Through clever marketing campaigns and collaborations with famous brands and celebrities, Crocs transformed from a punchline into a fashion statement. Crocs turned its social media failure into a success story by owning its quirky aesthetic and highlighting its unique selling points.


These examples demonstrate that while social media fails are undoubtedly cringe-worthy, they don’t have to be fatal. By responding swiftly, authentically, and with a commitment to improvement, brands can bounce back from even the most daunting social media crises. In our increasingly connected world, an omnichannel approach that integrates social media with other marketing channels is crucial for managing and mitigating potential fallout from online missteps.