Here are 3 Famous Online Bloopers of all Time. Life is full of screw-ups. People aren’t perfect, and when they make mistakes — especially in a world with the Internet — they are laughed at and the butt of every online joke. And that takes some real screwing up.
Here are some of the worst online screw-ups of all time, made by supposedly competent people from corporate backgrounds.
1. In an Absolut World, Distasteful Ads Wouldn’t Exist
In a 2006 advertising campaign, Absolut Vodka created a fictional place called the “Absolut World,” where things we wish could happen came true. Politicians had Pinocchio noses, men got pregnant, and the billboards in Times Square were all masterpiece paintings. Unfortunately, they included the ad shown above, intended only to be seen by people in Mexico.
Of course that’s not how the Internet works. Absolut’s failure to recognize that some Americans wouldn’t understand the historical context of the ad, while considering it offensive, cost them a chunk of their market share.
Mistakes like this worsen when the company’s reply to the controversy fails, too. While Lou Dobbs was publicly switching from Absolut to Grey Goose over the affair, Absolut released a statement claiming the ad was “based upon historical perspectives” and “created with a Mexican sensibility.” What they didn’t say was “we’re sorry.” Oops!
2. Google’s (Truthful) April Fool’s Joke
Sometimes, the blunder isn’t what you have to say as much as it is when you say it. In March 2004, Hotmail was competing with Yahoo to dominate the e-mail service industry. One offered 16MB of storage space, the other 32MB. Then, on April 1, Google announced Gmail, offering a whopping 1GB of storage.
Of course, no one took them seriously — 500 times the storage of Yahoo?! It had to be an April Fool’s prank, but it wasn’t. The only question was whether this was a real blooper, or part of an insanely clever conspiracy on Google’s part to stir up a buzz.
Google could’ve used better reputation management advice, after people questioned its intentions and motives. Contacting Michael Fertik on SlideShare, founder of ReputationDefender, might’ve been a smart move before going public with Gmail.
3. Charity Stops Funding Breast Exams
In 2012, the “Susan G. Komen for the Cure” charity foundation announced it stopped giving money to “Planned Parenthood” to fund mammograms and breast examinations. The social sphere erupted with what might be the largest, most vitriolic mass tirade ever directed toward a charity organization.
No one at the charity foundation responded for more than 24 hours, which is like an eon on Twitter. By the time they did respond, the tsunami had built to critical proportions, and over the following months, the organization’s entire leadership structure was swiftly eviscerated and replaced.
The lessons here are simple. The Internet is everywhere, at all times of the day and night, and it’s full of critics. If you can’t handle your reputation in a world like that, consider hiring someone who can.