How The AARP Accidentally Bought Promoted Tweets For #ObamaIsNotSatan

The AARP found itself accidentally buying promoted tweets against an unexpected hashtag that made it big last week: #ObamaIsNotSatan.
It all started when Glenn Beck noted that The History Channel’s miniseries “The Bible” cast a Moroccan actor as Satan who bore a striking resemblance to the president. (Which the network qualified as “foolish.”)
And thus the hashtag #ObamaIsNotSatan became the ninth most trending hashtag of last week.
Adweek noticed that both Seamless and the AARP had promoted tweets that were attached to the hashtag.
Of course, the AARP didn’t intentionally buy against the controversial hashtag. VP of social strategyTammy Gordon told Adweek that it had purchased ad space against the word “Obama,” and a term matcher linked those promoted tweets to the longer phrase #ObamaIsNotSatan. If people clicked on the hashtag, here’s an example of what popped up:
That’s when the AARP used a negative keyword targeting tool that allows advertisers disassociate themselves with potentially controversial phrases.
“We did that as soon as we saw this happening,” Gordon told Adweek. “But the larger thing for brands is that you not only have to be tweeting and engaging during the day, you have to be constantly watching the trending topics. Who would have guessed that hashtag ObamaIsNotSatan was going to start trending?”
This further emphasizes why brands need to vigilantly watch social campaigns.
The classic example is McDonald’s #McDStories fail. What started as an innocuous hashtag turned into a Twitter bashing session in which people wrote disgusting stories about why they hate the chain. The PR disaster could have been even worse if McDonald’s hadn’t been watching Twitter — the hashtag was pulled after less than two hours.
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