One good shredding deserves another.
On Sunday, The UPS Store tweeted a holiday-themed joke: “If your child addresses a letter to the North Pole, you can leave it with us. We do the shredding.”
As it turns out, the shipping service was less taking a jab at the rival U.S. Postal Service and more touting an in-store service. The Twitterverse didn’t seem to care.
It didn’t take long for the backlash to come, with some tweeting that they would use an alternative service to deliver their packages.
Who hurt you @TheUPSStore? 🤔
My dad was postmaster in our small town post office.📮
Mom, pretending to be Santa, wrote back to each child who sent a letter. Then she secretly shared the wish list with their parents. 🎅💌😊
If she was still here she'd kick your ass(es). 😡 pic.twitter.com/qQkpDFto5Q
— CJ Topher ✌🏻💙❄️ (@CJ_FightPD) December 17, 2018
Dear Scrooge, we can always use Fedex then. pic.twitter.com/INs2arFklm
— Wicked Big RU Mob Thug In The WH Blues 👎⚖️✨🇺🇸 (@RhapsodysBIues) December 17, 2018
You could've said
• * the replies💖
• Santa's bidding
• literally anything but actually "shredding" the hopes and dreams of children….I'm just saying..you had aLOT of options that wouldn't have caused a PR meltdown @UPS @TheUPSStore 🤨 #shredded pic.twitter.com/gaMcPDRmis
— A. Leigh Corbett (@ItsAlexaLeigh) December 18, 2018
— mo (@signalshift) December 17, 2018
Other Twitter users spread the news by responding to the tweet with additional snark:
Heard the UPS store deleted this tweet after they were visited by 3 ghosts. pic.twitter.com/m3nB2jfg8R
— Alise Morales (@AliseNavidad) December 17, 2018
— HogT1de's Tree (@HogT1desTree) December 17, 2018
— Three Year Letterman (@3YearLetterman) December 17, 2018
Can you also flip off my child and tell him there is no Santa for an additional cost?
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) December 17, 2018
Apology video for @TheUPSStore should go as follows:
-Spokesperson in cheery Xmas sweater.
-Snowy wonderland outside Santa's workshop.
-Heartfelt statement of regret.
-Zoom out to reveal shredder launching finely powdered Santa letters over sound stage.
-Fade out. pic.twitter.com/goMnnGEmGO
— Andy McDonald (@iamandymcdonald) December 17, 2018
On Monday, the company’s social media team removed the tweet as criticism continued. An explanation from a UPS rep didn’t do much to remedy the damage.
A spokeswoman for the UPS Store said the tweet was never intended to put Christmas in a negative light.
“Our voice and our personality on Twitter really tries to bring some fun and get some attention,” UPS Store spokeswoman Tracy Spahr told The Hill. “Our intention was to have some fun but it was taken in a negative way. To be sensitive to our customers we decided to remove it.”
Staci Reidinger, a public relations and social media manager at the UPS Store, which franchises its brand, was quick to return a reporter’s phone call. She said the brand has been working on cultivating a fun personality on social media for the past year, with the help of creative agency EP+Co. Still, the UPS Store reviews all tweets the agency writes for it before they are published.
The brand was “trying to find a way to get you looking and paying attention to our brand,” she said the tweet was emphasizing shredding, what she called one of the lesser-heralded services of its stores.
… “We were, like, maybe this isn’t in alignment of where we were going to go with our holiday personality and posts,” she said.
Some say deleting the tweet made it more infamous, but the bigger lesson for social media pros is to think through their attempts at humor. Even though The UPS Store’s tweet was meant to be lighthearted, it got them attention for all the wrong reasons.
Consider both your audience and your brand’s voice before tweeting an edgy joke or snarky comment, because not every organization can successfully pull off a sassy personality—especially when poking fun at Santa Claus and his wide-eyed devotees.