Covered by ABC News recently, the social media managers behind the Campbell Soup SpaghettiOs Twitter account got into some hot water over the weekend after posting a tweet that featured a cartoon version of the SpaghettiOs mascot with a large grin while waving the American flag.
Along with the graphic, the tweet read “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” Easily a graphic that would have been more appropriate for a patriotic Fourth of July post, many Twitter users expressed outrage over using an arguably silly mascot to remember an important tragedy while others ridiculed SpaghettiOs mercilessly for the 10 hours that the tweet was live.
After Campbell Soup representatives realized the mistake, the tweet was deleted and a new message was posted to apologize for the graphic. The tweet read “We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. We meant to pay respect, not to offend.” According to representatives within the company, that account is managed by internal employees rather than an external marketing agency.
While the SpaghettiOs account only has about 12,000 followers, popular Twitter users with over one million followers, like Wil Wheaton and Patton Oswalt, likely helped increase the visibility of the poorly conceptualized tweet. In fact, Oswalt helped spawn the hypothetical situation of Campbell Soup’s participating on social media in other tragedies.
Of course, graphic artists and other snarky Internet users took it upon themselves to insert the SpaghettiOs mascot into pictures of tragedies such as the Hindenburg disaster, the Bataan death march and JFK’s funeral. You can view Twitter’s collective response to the SpaghettiOs tweet here.
However, this isn’t the first time that a social media manager has attempting to insert some form of branding to pay homage to a tragedy. Just a few months ago, AT&T’s CEO apologized for a tweet that attempted to pay respect to the 9/11 tragedy. The tweet featured a picture of the twin tower lights being taken with a generic smartphone. Similar to the SpaghettiOs incident, Twitter users responded negatively to the image.