You don’t want Justin Timberlake & Jimmy Fallon (or even worse the 316 million active twitter users) turning your hashtag into a bashtag. Below are some cautionary tales to consider before you launch your #nextbigthing.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. McDonald’s went from twitter darling to twitter fail overnight. Their #meetthefarmers campaign was very well received on all social media channels – especially where the 5 minute documentary shorts featuring farmers around the country lifted the brand to new heights. But they made a major PR faux pas almost immediately with the next campaign called #McDStories. They thought people would write in with nostalgic stories about their first Happy Meal…the twitterverse thought different.


The face that launched a 1000 memes. Susan Boyle was a D list entertainer until her PR folks inadvertently catapulted her to the top of the bashtag list. They forgot the cardinal rule of testing their hashtag with and without caps. #SusanAlbumParty reads VERY different from #susanalbumparty. If only this had been done on purpose…it would be on the TOP TEN BEST hashtag lists rather than the worse. Possible happy ending in this case – all publicity is good publicity.

susan boyle hashtag fail

To thine own self, be true. People don’t profess love to drug stores – not anywhere, but especially not on social media. Walgreens clearly didn’t understand that when they launched their #ilovewalgreens campaign. It was doomed from the start. The fact that they paid twitter $120,000 to have it annoyingly pop up in your twitter feed uninvited just added fuel to the fire. With a little market research they could have invented a cool hashtag campaign that went viral organically in the right way with their target audience. Missed opportunity!


You don't need more resources, you need better resources.


Sign up to receive Molly's weekly newsletter with tips and suggestions for how to respond with the right message at the right time. If there is a breaking news story or pressing communication issue, Molly has your answer.

Check your inbox for the guide!