DiGiorno Shows Why You Should Read Twitter Hashtags Before Using Them

pizzaWe’ve discussed before how brands should reconsider the use of Twitter as a promotional tool, since the combination of employees signed in to the wrong account, thoughtless jumping on bandwagons, and followers who know how to take screen shots has damaged a lot of brands. Today’s devastating example of why you should look before employing a hashtag comes from frozen pizza brand DiGiorno, which wandered into a serious Twitter conversation about domestic violence.

This conversation grew out of current events, namely the suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after security camera footage surfaced of him punching his then-fiancée until she lost consciousness. The couple are now married, and people who aren’t familiar with the patterns of romantic partner abuse may have wondered why she stayed with him, let alone going through with the planned marriage.

While people who were once in abusive relationships don’t presume to speak for Mrs. Rice, thousands of people told their own stories on Twitter using the hashtag #WhyIStayed. The tag began trending, making tweets with that tag highly visible on Twitter. Brands often take advantage of popular hashtags to gain visibility. Unfortunately, someone who represents DiGiorno on Twitter thought this would be a fun trend to join before they took thirty seconds to skim the tweets.

BxD4sM7IIAAvugF

This screengrab taken by ad executive Scott Lee shows the DiGiorno tweet alongside some non-opportunistic #WhyIStayed tweets.

The brand has since apologized, and says that the tweet was immediately taken down.

There’s really no possible excuse for this: the tweet went up twelve hours after the first #WhyIStayed post.