Coca-Cola Tries Campaign to Tackle Online Negativity but Becomes Hack Victim
In a turn of events that demonstrates how risky social media can be for companies, Coca-Cola has been made victim of the very negative feedback it had launched a campaign to prevent.
Their #MakeItHappy Twitter promotion involved an automated algorithm (bot) which used the ASCII character coding system to translate tweets containing the campaign hashtag into cute visuals such as dancing bananas or a smiling mouse.
Media company Gawker hijacked the campaign however by creating an automated Twitter bot of its own called @MeinCoke - it subverted the bot system so that instead of innocent displays, lines quoting Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' were reproduced in the pixel art.
This unfortunate obfuscation continued for several hours before it was spotted by the campaigns' social media team and the entire campaign was scrapped.
A Coca-Cola spokesperson commented: "The #MakeItHappy message is simple - the Internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It's unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn't."
They concluded: "Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign."