Because all websites are contractually obliged to write this article every year…

And why should we be any different? I’m safe in my ivory tower, fully confident that I’ll never, ever do anything even slightly incorrectly on our own social media channels, and even if I do, it was probably a hack. 

Brand accounts are hacked all the time aren’t they? Curiously enough, it’s always by the same hacker, who just wants to send oddly specific drunken messages to the regular account manager’s boss, or possibly tweet a picture of a horse’s butt to the under-9 demographic.

Oh, that hacker! *shakes fist*

Anyway, on with the schadenfreude! 


I don’t know about you, but when I get on a plane I like to know that the airline has at least a basic grasp of geography.

There’s no Giraffes in Ghana this Christmas Delta, because they don’t live there and never have. 


Donald counts as a brand because he has his name on a super-classy skyscraper.

This  year we saw an extremely rare* example of hubris from the self-made** puffbag, causing him to tweet out a lovely image of notorious serial killers Fred and Rose West.
Lesson? If in doubt, sue everyone.

*Not rare

**Not self-made


I’m from the UK, so I know little about the Superbowl and even less about JC Penney, but this series of half-cut tweets actually made me love them both.

Go home department store, you’re drunk. 

US Airways 

I’ve tried to think up a framing narrative for this erm… entry, but “Holy Shit US Airways” was the best I could manage.

Lesson: Any lesson I describe here probably won’t make it past your porn filter. 

The Patriots

An exquisitely offensive tweet from New England’s finest, as marketing automation goes bad.

Really, really bad.
I know it’s hard to believe guys, but not everyone on the internet is a nice person. 


If you’re going to make fun of the iPhone, don’t do it from an iPhone.

Lesson: Remember Oprah

Global Village Duluth

A lot of brands struggled with MLK Day this year. Nytol decided to play on the ‘dream’ bit of MLK’s famous speech with nary a thought for offending people, but for full-on facepalm we’ve got to go with Duluth Global Village’s ‘black sale’.

“Lookin’ super fly” indeed. 

British Embassy

Not to be outdone, we Brits decided to prove we can be just as stoopid as the next man when we put our minds to it. Diplomacy at its finest.


“By clicking ‘Like’ on this occasion, you’ll be sending Jules your best wishes for a speedy recovery. #ForzaJules”

Yeah, that’s an awful thing to do DHL. 

Digiorno’s Pizza

I have nothing good to say about this. 


Engaging people online requires a certain amount of subtlety. After all, no one like to be beaten over the head with… no, too easy.

Ian Botham gets Beefy

Is an aging cricket star a brand? I don’t care, for social media fail-dom, it’s hard to beat tweeting a picture of your middle wicket.

He was probably hacked *shakes fist *

You are correct in your assumption that there’s no way in all hades I’m posting the actual image on the Econsultancy blog.

Google it if you must, just don’t do it from an enormous Mac with a screen that faces directly towards the research team. 

Rita Ora

Is definitely a brand. Not a very good one, but a brand none the less. 

Rita’s account, was, of course, compromised. 

*shakes fist*

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

That’s ‘The Oscars’ to you and me. And they get included because of that whole Hayek/Cruz thing. 

Or should that be Cruz/Hayek?

If you don’t understand how important this is, I hope you enjoy sitting through Sex and the City 2 instead of Desperado. 

Robin Thicke

Some people accused me of being out of date when I suggested adding this one to the list, but frankly hating Robin Thicke never goes out of style.


And, naturally, response: 

American Apparel

Have a social media manager who was born after 1986, so didn’t understand that posting a picture of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding may, as July 4th celebratory tumblr posts go,  be considered slightly inappropriate.

Similarly, I wasn’t around during WWII, so expect our Facebook page to go into Hitler-overdrive this festive season.


Speaking of terrible disasters, you’d think we’d know to stay away from this sort of thing by now wouldn’t you?

Best Buy

If you’re going to promote products on Twitter, it’s probably best NOT TO USE A BRUTAL MURDER TO DO IT.

Ann Coulter

Will get no publicity from me.

Let’s face it, everything she has ever said counts as a fail anyway, so we don’t need to go into it here. And we certainly don’t want her sour puss spoiling anyone’s Christmas. 

Let’s get social!

Actually, this is clearly a win isn’t it?

The rap alone is worth the entry price, and it teaches us a valuable lesson about social media: Bacon is far more important than your children. 

That’s your lot for this year, I know I missed a couple out, but fankly I don’t want to risk my Reddit karma by listing any more – feel free to add ’em in the comments, and remember, as long as you never, ever do anything wrong in public… everything will be fine.