A Trump-related social media blunder has seen an international sunglasses brand lose the face of its campaign, leaving it with a lot of of unsold sunglasses.
Hawkers Co sunglasses posted a tweet in light of the unexpected US election result yesterday, advertising its new range of sunglasses, reports The Guardian.
“Mexicans, put on these glasses so they can’t see your crying eyes tomorrow when building the wall,” the tweet read.
Despite being quickly deleted, the damage was done, when Mexican formula one racer Sergio Perez, who had a personal sponsorship with Hawkers, saw the tweet and quickly dumped the brand.
“When I read the comment I didn’t find it funny at all. I have decided to split with the brand because I am not in favour at all of the comment,” Perez told Reuters.
“They are very sorry and I am very sorry, too. I know the owners and they have done incredibly well and the relationship was going to be very successful. But my country and people come first and I want to support them and won’t let anyone make fun of my country.”
The company, which has Spanish origins, apologised on its Twitter, posting multiple tweets and a video and saying it made a “grave error”.
The company was in the middle of a deal with Perez involving 20,000 limited edition sunglasses bearing his name, the production of which will now be halted.
Social media and advertising expert Catriona Pollard told SmartCompany that Trump’s election win had made way for a lot of brands to make sometimes unnecessary political commentary.
“There was so much rhetoric with the election win that lots of brands used social media to make commentary about the win,” Pollard says.
“I saw a lot of brands on Facebook and Twitter yesterday posting political sentiment that was inappropriate for their audience.”
Pollard believes the blunder was made due to a disconnect between the political beliefs of the brand and the beliefs of its audience.
“It seems Hawkers’ political beliefs and their sentiments weren’t the same as their audiences’,” she says.
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Don’t get too comfortable
The nature of Twitter and Facebook can lead some brands into getting too comfortable, Pollard warns – especially in emotional situations such as elections.
“No matter what the public sentiment is, it’s important for brands to use strategic thought,” she says.
Perez said he was sorry to cut ties with the brand itself, calling Hawkers “great”, and placing the blame instead on the company’s social media manager.
“I am not willing to stay there because basically the brand must be in charge of the social manager,” Perez told Reuters.
“It is a shame that the brand pays for it. It is a mistake by one person and I am sure he regrets it now but that is how things are in life sometimes.”
To prevent these mistakes happening at the hands of one person, Pollard advises businesses to have clear boundaries and rules when it comes to social media.
“If you’re putting someone in charge of your social media you need to have trust in them, and there needs to be lots of rules and boundaries in place on what they can and can’t post,” Pollard says.
However, social media managers need to be provided with some leniency so they aren’t “just spouting company rhetoric”, says Pollard.
“It’s not right to have completely blamed the social media manager, as they must have felt that they were given permission to tweet something like that at some point,” Pollard says.
“It is the organisation’s responsibility to have clear boundaries set.”
SmartCompany has contacted Hawkers for comment, but did not receive a response prior to publication.