Businesses have been advised to tread carefully when it comes to social media marketing stunts after betting company Luxbet duped some Twitter users with its “#DaveGetsFired” campaign.
In what was soon revealed as a hoax, Luxbet’s social media manager claimed he had been fired on his day off, prompting a series of tweets seemingly sabotaging the company’s account, reports Mumbrella.
“Looks like I’m locked out of Luxbet’s Facebook, so I’ve changed their Twitter password and reset email HAHAHA #DaveGetsFired,” one tweet read.
“Dave” then claimed “they’re trying to make me promote Luxbet’s new app,” saying it could get more engagement with a video of cats being scared by cucumbers.
The profile’s banner was changed to feature a ‘rebranding’ of the company, which was now called “Davebet” with a drawing of “Dave’s new app”.
— David Carney (@dCarnage212) September 22, 2016
Luxbet quickly revealed to Mumbrella the series of tweets was a hoax and designed to promote the company’s new betting app. SmartCompany’s sister publication Crikey reported Luxbet’s social media manager is actually someone called Adrian.
Many users on Twitter had already caught on to the marketing stunt, which one claiming it was “very well played.” But others were not so supportive.
I can’t stand those hackneyed, lazy and obviously contrived internet hoax stunts and the gullible fools who fall for them. #DaveGetsFired
— Michael Byrnes (@MichaelByrnes) September 22, 2016
I hate hoax marketing ploys. This Luxbet #DaveGetsFired is super lame. They will be yay metrics – but let’s see if any actual real outcomes.
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— Dale Roberts (@ozdale) September 22, 2016
One tweet by “Dave” claimed he had control over the company’s credit card, and offered to send customers free pizzas. It appears this part was true, with a number of customers receiving pizzas from the apparently disgruntled employee.
— Pete Nowakowski (@petenowakowski) September 22, 2016
“It can come back to bite you”
Marketing expert Michelle Gamble, from Marketing Angels, says brand should be wary of attempting such a marketing stunt, telling SmartCompany these incidents can have a negative effect on a brand’s image as “consumers don’t like to feel they’ve been deceived on any level”.
“The way they’ve done it, it is a blatant case of misleading fans and consumers,” Gamble says.
“Joking about losing a job is not a nice thing, and gambling companies already have a negative image regardless.”
Gamble says the motivation behind these marketing stunts is usually a play for attention, as well as a desire for “things to go viral”. Luxbet did succeed in this regard, as the hashtag #DaveGetsFired was trending in Sydney during the time of the stunt.
“It’s to get reach, and get people talking about the company. It also gets people talking about the app, albeit in an underhanded way,” Gamble says.
“People talking about the company is not necessarily a good thing, they may feel deceived by the misleading messages or disengaged with the brand.”
Gamble says brands can get away with these sorts of campaigns on social media as bodies like the Advertising Standards Board hold no jurisdiction in the area.
“If they did this on national TV, or on a billboard somewhere, they’d be hauled over the coals,” Gamble says.
For smaller brands, Gamble advises to steer clear of these marketing stunts, saying “just because you’re small doesn’t mean you can fly under the radar”.
“These marketing stunts can get small brands into strife, as one stupid or offensive tweet can get picked up by a bigger account and retweeted,” she says.
“If you attempt something like this it can easily come back to bite you, and smaller accounts can’t afford to lose followers.”
Luxbet has since deleted all of “Dave’s” tweets, replacing them with an apology while continuing to promote its app.
SmartCompany contacted Luxbet but did not receive a response prior to publication.