Toyota’s Twitter campaign is the latest to draw criticism

The automaker joins the ranks of McDonald’s, Research in Motion, and others, after its hashtag promotion went awry.


It’s a new week, which means yet another brand’s promoted hashtag has failed.

Toyota is the latest to join the likes of McDonald’s, Research in Motion and Qantas in coming up with well-intentioned hashtags only to watch them go awry.

Toyota’s kerfuffle is a bit different, though. The company launched its Camry Effect campaign to promote the 2012 model. But things turned ugly (or at least annoying) when those who tweeted Super Bowl-related hashtags #CamryEffect were sent @ reply messages suggesting they sign up for a contest to win a Camry.

The Real Time Report further explains the backlash:

What’s worse, the tweets were sent from a series of accounts that had been verified by Twitter, provoking additional backlash against Twitter for appearing to endorse the spam campaign. The @CamryEffect1 through @CamryEffect9 accounts are now marked as Suspended Accounts, and the main @CamryEffect account has been changed to a Protected Account.

Oops.

Toyota’s digital marketing and social media manager Kimberly Gardner offered this apology via The Next Web:

We apologize to anyone in the Twitterverse who received an unwanted @reply over the past few days. We were excited to share the message of our Camry Effect campaign in a new way and it was never our intention to displease anyone.

We’ve certainly learned from this experience and have suspended the accounts effective immediately to avoid any additional issues.

Last week, Dave Nordstrom, vice president of digital marketing at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., called the Camry Effect “one of the most ambitious social media campaigns [Toyota has] ever implemented.”

Ambitious is one word for it.

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