Recently, corporate giant Woolworths decided to implement some
humour into a social media response to a customer's post about
Facebook user Jamie McGloin wrote a tongue in cheek post on
Woolworths' Facebook page about his spaghetti purchase, to the
tune of rapper Eminem's lyrics. Woolworths decided to respond
with an equally funny post featuring more Eminem lyrics.
The posts quickly went viral with many Woolworths followers
jumping on board and hailing the supermarket's response as
hilarious. Hashtags such as #WooliesIsFresher followed, in addition
to responses including "...your comments have made me decide
to never shop at Coles again..." and "we should probably
shop at woolies now".
People were talking about it online – in a positive way -
and the social media spin was deemed a huge success for
In my opinion, it was a bold move by Woolworths but a move that
worked in its favour. Woolworths chose reasonably "family
friendly" lyrics and made them directly relevant to the topic
at hand – spaghetti. It could have gone horribly wrong if
Woolworths chose to use the more explicit content often associated
with Eminem songs. But it seems the response was carefully thought
out and planned by Woolworths who, in turn, received a positive
response and a huge boost to their brand. A boost which Woolworths
probably needed given their social media campaign fail around Anzac
This was a great example of a corporate giant showing its
empathetic and "human" side. Woolworths proved that at
the end of the day they too are people like you and me. They did
this by stepping out of the box containing generic social media
responses posted by companies, and it worked brilliantly in their
But, and there is always a but – there is a fine line
between using humour to boost your brand and unintentionally
insulting your followers causing an influx of complaints.
I've seen many brands trying to inject humour into their
social media posts only for it to backfire and, in turn, lose a
mass amount followers and leaving behind a huge negative backlash
to deal with.
Let's take US Airways for example – last year a US
Airways customer tweeted about the delay on a particular flight. US
Airways decided to respond with "We welcome feedback, Elle. If
your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and
follow up", followed by a link to an extraordinarily graphic
picture (which I won't include here). There is no doubt that
someone at US Airways thought it would be funny to tweet that
response but it wasn't. The tweet was removed an hour later
– but it was far too late, the damage to the brand was
Just because something is funny to you, it doesn't mean it
will go down well with your followers – it has to be
carefully thought out and planned. If not, you risk negative
backlash seriously harming your brand (and profits/sales),
complaints via social media or even complaints to the relevant
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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