Sportswear giant Adidas recently launched a Twitter campaign to promote its new Arsenal Football Kit.
The campaign, which was title #DareToCreate, used automation techniques to allow users to request their own virtual Arsenal shirt by interacting with a post from Adidas. The shirts that were generated included the username of the user's account.
The campaign encouraged more than 800,000 followers on Twitter to get involved and tweet the hashtag. Unfortunately, not long after the campaign launched, it was hijacked by trolls who began creating accounts with offensive names.
Adidas told HuffPost UK: “As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal we have been made aware of the abuse of a twitter personalisation mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey.
“Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this we have immediately turned off the functionality and the Twitter team will be investigating.”
Arsenal Football Club said in a statement to the Guardian that it works hard “to encourage diversity”.
The team said: “We totally condemn the use of language of this nature, which has no place in our game or society.
“We work hard as a club to encourage diversity and inclusion through our Arsenal for Everyone program, launched in 2008 as a celebration of the diversity of the Arsenal family.
“Through a number of initiatives undertaken in the community, inside Emirates Stadium and throughout the club, Arsenal strives to ensure that everyone associated with the club feels an equal sense of belonging.”
This isn’t the first time this has happened. Automation campaigns on Twitter have backfired in the past, like the Walkers Crisps campaign which allowed users to insert a photo of themselves into a photo with Gary Lineker.
Let’s hope in future that brands take this kind of thing into consideration and learn from past mistakes.