This Week In Bad Tweeting: Home Depot, Kellogg’s Apologize For Screwups

Twitter BirdHome Depot and Kellogg’s are the latest big brands to put their proverbial tails between their legs on Twitter.

Both companies have apologized for insensitive tweets that were posted within the past few days, joining an ever-growing list of companies that can’t seem to avoid putting their feet in their social mouths.

Here’s a look at what happened to both:

Kellogg’s UK’s Bad Taste Tweet

Kellogg’s UK’s mistake happened on Saturday when the company sent out a tweet that was ostensibly aimed at promoting its campaign to feed hungry children. That’s obviously admirable, but things went south when the company tied its willingness to feed vulnerable kids to how many retweets it got.

The tweet has been deleted, but AdWeek shared a screenshot this morning:


As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well at all, and Kellogg’s sent out this apology tweet on Sunday:


Home Depot’s Racially Insensitive Tweet

Home Depot caused a stir on Thursday with a racially insensitive tweet that showed two African-Americans and a person in a gorilla suit sitting together, and asked which one is not like the other.

The tweet has also been removed, but Twitter user @imfromraleigh posted a mobile screenshot before it disappeared:


That prompted a quick takedown and apology on Twitter:


As the New York Times reported (and many others, too), Home Depot issued a statement saying that the agency responsible for the tweet had been fired:

“We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive,” Stephen Holmes, director of corporate communications for Home Depot, said in an email statement. “The outside agency that created the tweet and the Home Depot associate who posted it have been terminated. We’re also closely reviewing our social media procedures to determine how this could have happened, and how to ensure it never happens again.”

Not Alone in Bad Corporate Tweeting

Kellogg’s UK and Home Depot are just the latest two big brands to make very visible on Twitter (or other social media outlets). Kenneth Cole has been in hot water over its tweets more than once, including an episode in September that Cole himself sent out, and later admitted was done on purpose.

Epicurious also turned off fans in April when it sent out promotional tweets that were tied to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Those aren’t the only cases of poor judgment by big (or small) brands on Twitter, and no doubt Kellogg’s UK and Home Depot won’t be the last, either.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing | Top News | Twitter


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Sam Mazaheri

    Oh man… This will be a great weekly series Matt!

  • Greg Powers

    People are overly sensitive.

  • PamelaMKramer

    WOW! That is a complete fail.

  • Josh Moore

    The biggest problem with the Home Depot tweet is that people who are completely non-racist (i.e. the people that posted it) get punished for the rest of the public’s racism. I say completely non-racist because it seems obvious that they didn’t even consider it to be racist – it’s just 2 guys and a monkey drumming. That’s how the company seemed to see it, but it gets blown up into a “racist” statement, because of the people who read life through racist eyes. If you don’t even notice race, it’s just 3 people drumming, one in a monkey suit.

  • Steve Wright

    “Have been terminated?!” That was a pretty stupid tweet but execution seems a bit harsh.

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