Bosses at global sports brand Puma have been left with more than a little egg on their faces after a high-profile marketing campaign on Twitter, featuring top sports stars, was hijacked by pranksters.
The initiative, part of the brand’s “Forever Faster” campaign, was based on the idea of getting fans to tweet their favourite footballers to receive a personalised tweet back with a signed photograph, under the hashtag #Foreverfaster. It featured top stars, including Radamel Falcao, Marco Reus, Cesc Fabregas and Mario Balotelli.
But when Twitter users realised that the response was automated and their Twitter name was used to personalise the tweet back, many changed their Twitter name to fool the automated system.
The prank resulted in Radamel Falcao tweeting that “Liverpool are wank, fans like you are behind every win” and Marco Reus tweet “Cocaine, couldn’t do it without you”, meanwhile a Cesc Fabregas tweet read: “I spread Ebola: Appreciate your support”.
Even Usain Bolt was caught up in the campaign, tweeting “I’m erect: Forget the pack, follow your instincts.”
The campaign is reminiscent of a Waitrose initiative, in which the supermarket invited users to compete the tweet “I shop at Waitrose because…”, encouraging them to use the hashtag #WaitroseReasons to sign off their responses.
Many pounced on the opportunity to mock the brand’s posh image, which one user writing: “I also shop at Waitrose because I was once in the Holloway Road brand and heard a dad say ‘Put the papaya down Orlando!” Another user scathingly quipped: “I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people.”
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