If you are a KitchenAid mixer fan who tuned into Twitter during the presidential debate tonight, you might have caught an errant tweet. @KitchenAidUSA: "Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president."
Obama was talking about his grandmother who passed away just before he was elected president in 2008.
The insensitive, ungrammatical (even for Twitter) tweet was deleted, but not quickly enough. Responses are flooding in right now to the @kitchenaidUSA account, chiding the lack of class and irresponsibility of the tweet. The brand quickly apologized, "Deepest apologies for an irresponsible tweet that is in no way a representation of the brand's opinion. #nbcpolitics" But that hasn't stopped hundreds of people tweeting to claim that they won't buy KitchenAid's iconic mixer anymore.
This was a particularly visible "oops" since it happened when thousands of people were on Twitter commenting about the presidential debate. This brand that stands for baking cookies and cheery color-coordinated kitchens suddenly finds themselves in the middle of the political fray with a classless anti-Obama tweet. According to www.opensecrets.org, KitchenAid has not made any political donations to either party, and there haven't been any other political tweets from them this evening, so one has to assume that the tweet came from someone who didn't realize they were logged in to the company account.
It's another stark reminder about how quickly the tide can turn against a brand on social media. This was almost certainly a case of "someone tweeting from the wrong handle" just like last year's Chrysler fail. It's remarkably easy to make mistakes when you are tweeting quickly. In this world of ultra-connectivity, brands need to be absolutely vigilant about who has access to the company handle.
On the one hand, you've got to feel for KitchenAid, but on the other, they hired the mystery, soon-to-be-unemployed, marketing manager who made the mistake in the first place. The tweet was certainly super insensitive, but it was also kind of dumb. Didn't the bosses check out this employee's personal twitter stream before handing over the keys?
Jen Boynton is the former Editor-in-Chief of TriplePundit. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and has helped organizations including SAP, PwC and Fair Trade USA with their sustainability communications messaging. She is based in San Diego, California. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with toddlers and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.