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!