Top 2014 World Cup social media blunders so far

Melissa Allen|

We are now in full World Cup swing, celebrating/mourning some major upsets such as Costa Rica over Italy, and yesterday, Belgium over U.S.A. Thanks to open, real-time social media platforms such as Twitter, soccer fans can share their passion with the world, and brands now have a tool to connect with those fans, who also happen to be consumers. With this global event smashing social media records, who can blame big brands for jumping into the #WorldCup2014 conversation? While many corporate World Cup tweets are fun and engaging, there have been a few blunders. Here are the top ones.

KLM rubs salt in Mexico’s wound with caricaturization.

The Netherlands’ Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), had a moment of “winning poorly” when they tweeted “Adios Amigos! #NEDMEX” with an image of a Mexican man with a big mustache and giant sombrero. This blatant stereotyping resulted in angry fans, both Mexican and non-Mexican, and the tweet was deleted with no apology.

Apparently, Delta Airlines doesn’t know much about Ghana…or giraffes.

Well, Delta tried. They tweeted the final U.S.A. vs. Ghana score, superimposed on what were to be internationally-recognized symbols representing each country: The Statue of Liberty for the U.S. and…a giraffe for Ghana? Too bad there are no giraffes in Ghana. It’s okay to admit that you didn’t know that (I didn’t either), but if you’re a major brand, it’s probably a good idea to do your research before tweeting information about a country you clearly know little about.

Samsung tweet cheers on Landon Donovan, who was actually cut from U.S.A. team.

Landon Donovan is said to be the best player in the U.S. right now. Unfortunately, he was cut from the U.S.A. team. I could possibly understand Samsung’s oversight if it weren’t for the fact that the team roster was officially announced, and Donovan’s being cut from the team was all over the media. But it looks like Samsung isn’t the only one to make this assumption.

U.S.A. team coach’s teen son makes Donovan feel even worse.

When it was announced that Donovan would not be representing the U.S.A., Jonathan Klinsmann, the teenage son of the U.S.A. team coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, made fun of Donovan in an extremely bratty tweet, which didn’t do the U.S.A. team, or FIFA as a whole, any favors in the PR department.

But for every brand that gets it wrong, there’s one that nails it. For example:

Waffle House “boycotts” Belgian waffles.

Right before the U.S.A. vs. Belgium match, Waffle House tweeted “We don’t believe in Belgium waffles”—how adorable is that? Even the typo adds to the tweet’s subtle, cheeky charm, and demonstrates the Waffle House’s thoughtful yet “on-the-fly” approach to social media. It’s worth reading the entire article for insight into a strategy that clearly works for them.

As with soccer, you win some and you lose some in the social media game. Hopefully, corporate brands can acknowledge their mistakes with class, pick themselves up, and take a cue from those that continue to do it right.

Have you seen any other Twitter blunders during World Cup?


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