Something brands have been doing on Twitter for years now is asking for retweets and offering a dollar or some other small donation to charity for each one. For instance, The History Channel offered $1 (up to a total of $50,000) to veterans’ charities for each tweet that used the hashtag #thankavet on Veterans Day. It seemed to work. Sometimes it doesn’t, though. Kellogg’s UK got in some trouble over the weekend when it sent a tweet that read, “1 RT = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child.”
The tweet was retweeted hundreds of times, but critics found tying feeding hungry children to retweets of a brand account distasteful:
“@KelloggsUK: 1RT = 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child” Anyone else find this kinda creepy? Like sayin “Help us advertise or kids go hungry”
— James Wong (@Botanygeek) November 9, 2013
Kellogg’s deleted the tweet and apologized on Twitter.
We want to apologise for the recent tweet, wrong use of words. It’s deleted. We give funding to school breakfast clubs in vulnerable areas.
— Kellogg’s UK (@KelloggsUK) November 10, 2013
Later, it apologized again.
We’d like to sincerely apologise for our distasteful tweet yesterday. We accept full responsibility for any offence we have caused.
— Kellogg’s UK (@KelloggsUK) November 11, 2013
As always, the responses to the mea culpa were a mixed bag. Some people accepted the apology, some asked whether Kellogg’s would donate the breakfasts without the retweets, and some directly challenged the brand’s wording.
@KelloggsUK it’s not a wrong use of words, it’s a wrong use of social.
— David Binkowski (@dbinkowski) November 10, 2013
So why did The History Channel’s campaign, which similarly tied donating to veterans’ charities to retweets, and dozens of other campaigns like it, get by while Kellogg’s got lambasted? Was it really a language problem? Are these types of Twitter campaigns just a big gamble? Please chime in, PR Daily readers. (Image via)