Every day you can see thousands of contests running on twitter and more and more brands trying to integrate their marketing campaign online, of which Twitter is an integral part. Twitter contests are ‘a hot trend in sweepstakes,’ with lots of prizes being given away.
Recently Shaadi.com hosted a contest on twitter asking users to tweet using a hash tag #MyShaadiDotComPartner and mention qualities they would look for in a Life Partner. The best tweeters stood a chance to win a Macbook Air as a prize.
Obviously who would want to miss a chance to win such a fantastic prize? The contest had a great start on Twitter and they received a tremendous response. In fact it went trending in a matter of a few hours in the twitter-sphere. This contest ran for 24 hours and not only was #MyShaadiDotComPartner trending in India but they were trending worldwide too.
AFTER 24 HOURS AT 11:30 SHAADI.COM DECLARED THE WINNERS OF THE CONTEST
But surprisingly enough, right after Shaadi.com declared their winners; there was great outrage on twitter with a burst of negative tweets flowing in for them.
Do you notice anything wrong in these tweets or what must have backfired shaadi.com? Not yet right?
The mistake Shaadi.com did is they did not provide the winning tweet along with the winners handle or you can say that they failed to analyze the winners past tweet (Winner had mentioned a tweet, where she stated that she doesn’t want a partner who is dark, and she did not want a kid who is black), Now nobody knows the truth – whether Shaadi.com endorsed this tweet or whether it was considered another tweet by the same person and hence they declared her the winner.
Everything was great, their contest, their strategy, they were also trending worldwide, however Social media is a fast paced world, and it spares no one, especially if you’ve made a mistake.
The tweet that caused damage was this one:
Right after this person was declared as winner. People were outraged, given the tweet was clearly quite racist and twitteratis objected to Shaadi.com’s choice of winner. Thousands of Twitter users tweeted out, questioning their choice and how they could declare someone a winner when they’ve passed such a racist remark.
Shaadi.com could have avoided this disaster by even mentioning the tweet for which they chose the winner. Later Shaadi.com did try to rectify their damage online by tweeting the tweets of contestants and why they chose them for it.
But by then it was too late. The damage was already done. Now I would like to ask one question, was it right on people’s part to thrash the winner like this and pass on sarcastic remarks on her thinking?
Shaadi.com could have roped in Chetan Bhagat to do the crisis management or they should have had a strategy in place. Social media is a place where people can pass any remarks and they express their opinions freely. According to me the lady did not do anything wrong, even she has a freedom of speech like all of us do. I am sure each one of us must have passed a racist remark some day or another. But on social media many of them expressed their disgust without really looking within.
And Gabbar singh tweeted the following
There was a spree of tweets addressed to the winner as well.
There were also a few who supported her though and expressed their sympathies for the twitter morcha she had invited upon herself.
At the end, the lessons we learn from this case study is, brands that run contest on Twitter should have a crisis plan in place. Sometimes such things are difficult to foresee but it would have made sense if Shaadi.com would have made a clarification note stating that winners are declared by analyzing single tweet which they feel was appropriate and not analyzing tweets in totality by same individual. It is upon the discretion of the judges on whom they have to declare winners and in no way did they wanted to offend their audience, it was in no way intentional to hurt somebody’s sentiment.
Audience also at times might not know for which tweet the winner has been declared. It is better for brands to clarify at start and provide the winning tweet too. There are other brands that have run similar contest in past and most of them also provide tweets for which the brands have declared them as winner.
One such similar contest is also running by Brands like Foodpanda India where they are asking people to tweet #IfSreesanthDeliveredMyFood. Again such practice is unethical and brands should are too busy to pimp themselves while letting go their morality. Brand should be careful on what they are getting into on social media; At times such fun contest tends to backfire brands reputation. Brands are should keep in mind that credit should be given to quality and not quantity of tweets.
At the end I would state that Social media is a space where you need to be quick and you need to be spontaneous. You can’t stay mum for a long time, especially when you’re a brand taking the blow for a tiny goof up.
We wish shaadi.com all the best and hope that they equip themselves with an efficient crises management team to protect their reputation before they launch anymore contests. They last thing you’d want after an extremely successful contest is one small miss, to rain on your parade.