#YourMum And Other Hashtag Fails

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  • Penguin made an almighty blunder this week (or struck publicity gold) with a hastag that brought out the adolescent in all of us. Your Mum... Heheheh.

    Thanks to a social media fail by Penguin, the Internet is ablaze with ‘your mum’ jokes.

    On Tuesday, Penguin offered free Mother’s Day gift advice to people who used the hashtag #YourMum. True to form, the Internet got onboard with the age-old adolescent joke. More than 7,000 mentions, many of which were ‘your mum’ jokes, got the hashtag trending on Twitter.

    People soon started to question whether this was an actual oversight, or if the marketing guys at Penguin HQ knew exactly what they were doing. Either way, it got around and got people talking… just like #YourMum. (Couldn’t resist!)

    This is certainly not the first time that marketing folks haven’t quite got the hang of a hashtag, so we’ve chosen a few of our favourite Twitter hashtag fails.


    An innocently intended hashtag to promote an album launch party for Susan Boyle backfired massively, for obvious reasons. To those of us with a slightly dirty mind (i.e. all of us), it was almost impossible to read the tag as Susan Album Party, but oh so easy to read it as the very x-rated, Su’s Anal Bum Party. The original tweet was promptly deleted and replaced by #SusanBoyleAlbumParty, but the damage was already done.


    Much like the disastrous #AskJPM Q&A session with American banking giant JP Morgan (the funniest responses are hilariously read out here), British Gas’ #AskBG hashtag didn’t go down too well. This was mainly down to their choice to do address their customer’s questions on the very same day in 2013 that British Gas had announced a 9.2% price rise, putting fuel on the fire for its critics with 10,000 people venting their frustrations.


    The famously upmarket supermarket Waitrose started the hashtag #WaitroseReasons in 2012, asking people to finish off the sentence “I shop at Waitrose because…” Of course, people started mocking the chain, with one user writing “I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people”. Waitrose HQ took the response graciously, tweeting “Thanks again for all the #waitrosereasons tweets. We really did enjoy the genuine and funny replies. Thanks for making us smile.”


    The sponsors of the 2014 BRIT Awards Mastercard thought the best way to get the hashtag #PricelessSurprises trending was to force journalists to use it. In order to get tickets for the event, the PR team obliged journalists to agree to a series of terms that included publishing Mastercard’s pre-drafted tweets to their personal accounts, and heavy use of the hashtag #PricelessSurprises. Needless to say, there were no surprises when it came to the backlash, with disgruntled journalists labelling the fiasco as an attack on freedom of speech. 

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