When social media backfires - Admiral PR Admiral PR

When social media backfires

Last week, supermarket giant Waitrose underestimated the power and reach of social media when it asked its 32, 145 twitter followers to share the reasons they choose to shop at its stores.

Followers were asked to complete the sentence ‘I shop at Waitrose because….’

Intended to increase interaction and discussion around the brand, it became very clear quite quickly that the general feeling toward Waitrose as a brand was that its customer base is considered to be very upmarket.

To the average Joe on the street (and Twitter), this quickly turned into the perfect opportunity to mock the supermarket, which undoubtedly provided Waitrose with some interesting food for thought into its perception in the minds of the mass market.

A couple of example tweets include:

“I shop at Waitrose because the toilet paper is made from 24ct gold thread”


“I shop at Waitrose because their colour scheme matches my Range Rover”

Waitrose was evidently expecting its customers to share its core messages of quality and exclusive food ranges but by launching a campaign targeted at a seemingly niche market in a mass media arena, many of the messages became increasingly humorous.

You can’t be certain of the outcomes on social media, however one thing’s for sure, even if you don’t shop at Waitrose but you were on Twitter last week, you know Waitrose has a presence, can take a joke and most importantly, plenty of people are still taking about it days later.

Engaging with your customers online is increasingly important for all brands but as this campaign proves, social media requires a well thought out strategy with a clear provision in place to manage the unexpected.

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