Someone somewhere once said that the “media can cook your dinner, but that they can also burn down your house”. In other words, it’s a double-edged sword which needs to be handled with care.
Well it seems that the marketing folk at Starbucks UK have taken that media sword and committed Hari Kari for a recent Christmas themed Twitter campaign. As part of the campaign, Starbucks UK asked Twitter users to use the #spreadthecheer hashtag and that their Christmas tweet messages would then be transmitted on a large public video screen at the ice-rink outside the National History Museum in London for all to see and read. It seems that Starbucks UK did not anticipate a backlash of negative / anti-Starbuck tweets from consumers who posted tweets complaining about the company’s recent tax problems in the UK.
Some of the anti-Starbucks tweets posted on the video screen were as follows: “Hey #Starbucks, PAY YOUR F—ING TAX #spreadthecheer,” or “#spreadthecheer Tax Dodging MoFo’s,” or “I like buying coffee that tastes nice from a shop that pays its tax. So I avoid @starbucks #spreadthecheer.” The faux-pas follows on from a recent mistake made by Starbucks Ireland when it asked Irish people to Tweet about why the are proud to be British.