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When hashtags go wrong: Warburtons creates its own social media crisis

Warburtons, the UK-based bakery business, recently saw itself managing a social media crisis of its own making, when a hashtag used in a marketing campaign proved to be extremely inappropriate.

The company has recently launched a range of Giant Crumpets and to support the marketing of the product it decided to run a competition that encouraged customers to share photos of themselves eating crumpets, using the hashtag ‘#crumpetcreations’.

Unfortunately for Warburtons the hashtag seems not to have been checked before use and once the competition was launched on social media it quickly came to light that the chosen hashtag was already in use, by a fetish community who enjoy dressing up in animal costumes while engaging in sexual activities.

Warburtons tackled the issue proactively, engaging in a wide-ranging crisis communications campaign, including appearances on UK national radio and TV, making the most of a potentially difficult and embarrassing mistake.


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