Worst social media blunders of 2016

It’s the end of a year and from what seems to be the common status update on social media, this was a tough year for most of us. Looking at some of the social media blunders made this year, we feel that the same was true for most brands too. Here are some brand social media stories from 2016 that you may have missed!

Vera Bradley’s Girly Campaign …

Vera Bradley is a rather popular and well-recognized name when it comes to fashion and they decided to launch a campaign titled, “Why It’s Good to Be a Girl”. The biggest risk in launching such a social media campaign is the fact that in today’s times of equal rights and feminism, it has to touch all the RIGHT pressure points. If it doesn’t it could be what is called a “fail” in social media jargon.


The problem is that the campaign did not really vibe with the modern girl to the most part. Statements like the above and others like “That moment when a gentleman offers you his seat” did not come across particularly as relatable. The issue is simple. Not all women want to accessorize and indulge in branded fashion, not all women belt out lyrics or listen to “that one song”.  Not all women would consider the chivalry as something “mind-blowing”.

Lesson: If you are appealing to the mass audience, touch the right notes and give them something that everyone could resonate with.

Research is never in vain

The DC and Marvel comics have always had their teams. They are both massive brands that have seen their fair share of ups and downs. So, when DC took to social media to say that all of the dialogues in the Superman – Wonder Woman story was translated from the language of Pakistan; “Pakistanian” , it garnered boos, shoos and whys…not to mention Marvel got a whole lot of new admirers. While we understand why such unintentional blunders are possible there is no excuse for poor research.Why DC?


Lesson: Social media is a double edged sword. Use it wisely and thou shall win, mess up and thou shall face the consequences. Research is never in vain and it’s Urdu not Pakistanian (the latter is non-existent)

Those 762 retweets though…


Coca Cola and the Geography Disaster

Coca Cola sent out a post on a Russian social media site with a snow-covered image of Russia which at first look seems harmless. However, a closer look reveals that the map is an outdated one and does not include Crimea which was a territory that was annexed to Russia in the year 2014. After coming under fire Coca Cola put out a new map including Russia which went even more bad with an outrage that called for the boycotting of Coca Cola.



Coca-Cola’s actions violate the official U.S. position condemning Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, which is and has always been an integral part of Ukraine,” the U.S embassy of Ukraine wrote in an online statement.


The post was taken down but not before #BanCocaCola happened…

Black and White and not so great

As far as social media advertising is concerned, this one is a no-brainer. The beauty brand Seoul Secret launched a campaign under “White makes you win” (if that does not send out red alerts, nothing will). The misguided PR move resulted in a lot of backfire with majority of viewers lashing out at the discriminatory line of advertising.






Lesson: clearly you don’t need to be white to win, just smart

Not even the US State Department could get through 2016

According to a series of tweets sent out under #Springbreakingbadly, the US State Department drew its line at saying that if you are not a 10 in US then your not a 10 overseas.


This earned a backlash of epic proportions and ultimately, the department took down the tweet with a public apology for any offense it may have caused.

Lesson: Crack the right jokes on social media, if you’re not sure that it won’t offend somebody, don’t do it.



 The Department of Justice followed shortly behind


This happened when the wrong tweet went on the wrong account. The department of Justice went public to say that a staff member had mistakenly tweeted this from the department account when it had been intended for their personal account. This tweet was posted after the controversy of Melania Trump allegedly taking parts off Michele Obama’s speech.

Lesson: This could be a genuine mistake or a serious oversight, but always double check because on social media once it’s out there, it’s out there.

No pun intended but offense certainly taken


This is what happens when words are not carefully coined. We cannot stress the importance of appropriate research and wording on social media.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee faced fire of epic proportions (the likes of missiles) after it tweeted that Tammy Duckworth is not standing up for veterans.

Coincidentally, Duckworth lost both her legs while serving as a US army helicopter pilot during the Iraq war. As far as messing up goes, it appears that this tweet wore the crown of shame.

Instead of a lesson, there is a baffling problem here. Why would anybody make such a huge blunder?

The list is rather long, but these are some of the social media blunders that got the most attention in 2016.

Social Media is fire, wield it wisely.


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