business news The Biggest Corporate Social Media Fails And Disasters Of 2017  

Jacob Shelton
May 9, 2017 642 votes 195 voters 19.5k views 16 items Embed

List Rules Vote up the moments that made you feel residual shame.

People get fired for saying stupid things on social media all the time. And while you can't fire a corporation, they also seem to make some serious social media blunders - and this year is no exception.

Social media gaffes aren’t uncommon, but when you’re a giant company like Wendy’s or Uber, then you should know that people are watching your every move and hoping that you’ll trip up. When you combine that and dumb marketing decisions hoping to capitalize on a cultural zeitgeist, you have a recipe for 2017 corporate fails. The corporations with the worst social media in 2017 are those who swing for the fences with big stunts, with the hopes of appealing to people’s sense of either political correctness, or idealism, and end up seeming tone deaf rather than #woke. Try not to tweet anything offensive while you read about these corporate social media fails of 2017.

From viral videos of assaults and bad bottle designs, to an unfortunate email subject line, these are just a few of the corporate social media mistakes 2017 has had to offer. Keep reading to find out about the corporate fails 2017 brought to the world stage.


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Woof. United Airlines has spent more of 2017 trying to keep itself from drowning in PR meltdowns than putting planes in the air. First they denied to teenage girls from flying the unfriendly skies because they were wearing leggings, then they doubled down on creating social media disasters when they dragged an Asian-American man off a plane in order to give his seat to a crew member. Obviously people on board the flight filmed the whole thing and posted the very graphic video on YouTube and Facebook, and the clip went garnered millions of views.

They have since killed a bunny, and United shows no signs of slowing down with their suicidal PR choices. Twitter had a great time with the consistent meltdown, and aside from the fact animals were dying, people were being beaten on planes, and teen girls were being body shamed, people were really nailing some jokes.

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Nivea is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Biggest Corporate Social Media Fails And Disasters Of 2017
Photo: Nivea/Facebook

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Nivea? Is it the Aryan Brotherhood? Because that's what people in the Middle East think thanks to an ad campaign released in March for their “Invisible for Black & White” deodorant. In the ad, the company that proclaimed "white is purity." Eeeeesh. The campaign was met with swift derision by Twitter users who were quick to let the company know how tone deaf their marketing campaign was. 

Nivea responded with what seemed like a cut and paste apology:  “The Nivea Middle East post was not meant to be offensive. We apologize. It’s been removed. NIVEA values diversity and tolerance.”

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What could go wrong with hiring one of the Kardashian-Jenner clan members (you know, Kylie's older sister) to help co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement? Pepsi found out when they released a commercial to show how #woke they are in April that featured people of every gender, shape, and color enjoying ice cold Pepsis with very photogenic members of the police department. The crowning moment is, of course, when Kendall Jenner quells tensions between protesters and police officers by offering the cops a Pepsi. Naturally.

The backlash appeared instantly, with people calling out ridiculous moments from the video, and even Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter calling out the soda conglomerate on Twitter. 

Pepsi tried to backtrack by posting, "Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position." Poor Kendall Jenner. 

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Dove is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Biggest Corporate Social Media Fails And Disasters Of 2017
Photo: Unilever/via The Today Show

Proving that each day in 2017 offers a brand new way for corporations to make themselves look like ding-dongs, Dove rolled out an ad campaign created by Ogilvy London known as “Real Beauty Bottles.” This limited-edition run of six different body wash bottles was supposed to show the power of the diversity of a woman's body by providing curvy, petite, and hilariously pear shaped containers. A statement from the company reads: "They’re one of a kind–just like you. But sometimes we all need reminding of that. Recent research from the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report revealed that one in two women feels social media puts pressure on them to look a certain way. Thankfully, many women are fighting with us to spread beauty confidence.” It's exactly the kind of thing that sounds like a great idea but is hilariously misguided the moment you see it. 

How was this decision made? Are women supposed to actually choose the bottle that most closely aligns with their body types (of which there are only seven - and don't you forget it)? Or is it okay if a women shaped like a torpedo purchases a bottle of body wash that's more rhombus shaped? The one thing that Dove's PR gaff actually manage to do was restart peak Twitter. 

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