Chrysler Reacts Quickly to F-Bomb Tweet

You have to love Twitter.

The 140-character microblogging service is currently being dominated by the rantings of Charlie Sheen who managed to accumulate one million followers in just one day. Psychoanalysts are still trying to dissect what that says about Twitter followers. I can help them with that – Twitter attracts people who are looking for the “next thing” even if it sometimes includes the career implosion of a famous Hollywood personality.

The Chrysler Group knows just how Twitter can work for the good and for the bad. Yesterday, was a case in the ugly when a tweet went out from its brand handle @ChryslerAutos containing a variation of a nasty four-letter word. Yes, the f-bomb was tweeted with the following message shared:

“I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f-ing drive.”

Only in this case, the entire seven letters were typed out. Yikes.

Later, Chrysler’s PR folks found out about the tweet and issued the following tweet:

“Our apologies – our account was compromised earlier today. We are taking steps to resolve it.”

It turns out that the compromise came from within or at least at the hand or tweet of the company’s social media agency of record, New Media Strategies. NMS, which takes pride in its “Celebrating 12 years of Growth and Social Media Excellence,” had to terminate one of its employees for casting an inappropriate tweet.

In a brief news release responding to the incident Chrysler said, “Chrysler Group and its brands do not tolerate inappropriate language or behavior and apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this communication.” The automaker said it has taken measures to ensure that such behavior does not happen again.

Good luck with that.

Chrysler Social Media

Virtually every car manufacturer works with third-party ad agencies, marketing groups, and social media agencies that speak out on a company’s behalf. Here on “Auto Trends Magazine” we’re in regular contact with most of these companies, sometimes staying in closer touch with these people than car manufacturer staff themselves.

My personal experience is that most of these people know what they’re doing and act honorably. However, with social media giving us “instant news,” the occasional “instant gaffe” gets through too.

No doubt, Chrysler was embarrassed to learn about the tweet, but they’ve handled this matter appropriately and without making excuses. And that is good because the playing field has changed and companies big and small must react swiftly and with clarity when trouble arises. Burying a problem just doesn’t work. Admitting to a mistake and moving on does. Kudos to Chrysler for doing the latter.

If you would like to follow our tweets, simply find @theautowriter and you’re in. We’ll make a point to follow you back.

Update 3/10/2011: AdAge reports that Chrysler has decided not to renew its contract with “New Media Strategies” as a result of the Twitter gaffe.

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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