#Aurora tweet sparks PR nightmare for retail site

A celeb-style boutique plugs a namesake dress style without finding out why ‘Aurora’ was trending. Did it learn nothing from Kenneth Cole?

You’d think anyone checking Twitter this morning would have heard about the dreadful shooting incident that tragically unfolded at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Even if, on this particular morning, one hadn’t checked the day’s headlines, a person or team in charge of a Twitter feed would know enough to check why a word or phrase was a trending topic before exploiting it as a marketing peg.

That apparently doesn’t include the folks at CelebBoutique.com, who tweeted the following after seeing that the name of the town was trending on the social network:

“#Auroa is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Auroa dress ;)”

The tweet also contained a link to the garment before the U.K.-based fashion retailer removed the tweet from its account upon being made aware of the tone-deafness of its hasty post—courtesy of legions of caustic tweeters.

Responses from the Twittersphere were fast and furious, ranging from utter disbelief to profane contempt for the company and the horse it rode in on.

The company quickly responded with further tweets to clean up its mess, claiming that it and its PR team had been unaware of the misfortune, but the damage was done:

The retailer isn’t the first fashion brand to prove insensitive in the wake of disaster. In 2011, Kenneth Cole infamously tweeted about the citizen uprising in Cairo; it later apologized for making light of an exceedingly serious situation.

The lesson from today’s mega-blunder: Look before you tweet.

Alan Pearcy is the associate editor of PRDaily.com.

Topics: PR


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