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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Burger King and Jeep got screwed in social media... and how MTV took advantage.

It's been a rough week in social media for some major American corporations.

On Monday, hackers broke into Burger King's official Twitter account and proceeded to tweet out inappropriate messages to the company's thousands of followers. Among other things, "Burger King" claimed to have sold to McDonald's. Mass confusion, and hilarity, ensued.

Picture from CBC.ca.

The account was eventually suspended, and when it was restored a short time later, things were back to normal.

Not too long after, a similar situation befell the official Jeep Twitter account, saying they were "sold to Cadillac." Perhaps learning from the Burger King debacle, the account was restored relatively quickly.

Picture from venturebeat.files.wordpress.com.

And since these things tend to occur in threes, the official MTV account appeared to be hacked shortly thereafter. However, it was later revealved that the MTV hack was just a promotional tactic to advertise a new MTV program, titled, appropriately enough, "What the Hack." MTV used a potentially disastrous scenario to promote their programming, in a tongue-in-cheek method that's consistent with their tone and messaging. Well played, MTV.

Picture from globalpost.com

Some are saying the three hacks were connected from the start as part of an elaborate ruse to promote MTV. Judging by some of the racier tweets from Burger King, however, I wouldn't be so sure.

So, what do you think?

Do the advantages of social media outweigh the potential disasters? Did these hacks damage the Burger King and Jeep brands? And was the faux-MTV hack clever marketing, or a risky move with little pay-off?

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