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Sounding Off: Janette Speyer: “Burger King Twitter Hacked: Good or Bad for Branding?”


Janette Speyer has worked for Young & Rubicam Venezuela as art director specializing in direct response campaigns. Moving to the US, she co-founded SpeyerGraphix with clients such as FOX Sports, Time Warner Cable, BET, The Playboy Channel, Harman/JBL and many others. In 2003, Janette joined the Web Success Team where she is responsible for the creation and execution of online marketing campaigns. She also oversees creative web development and offline design projects for Team clients.

twitter.burguerInsane things can happen in the social media world, which is why many brands are terrified and rightfully so. Burger King’s twitter account has been hijacked. Not only did they change the timeline to look like McDonalds, the anonymous invaders propagated their stream with strange references to drugs and perverted humor.


How Terrible Is This?

Certainly not the end of the world! Here are some positive opportunities that can come out of a crisis.

1. Create a campaign to build your “new” twitter account. Have your PR and social media firms prepared and ready to tell your story and explain what happened to garner sympathy from your communities.

2. Capitalize on the #fail hashtag to promote your products on your new twitter account. For example send out tweets that show benefits: “Burger King Hacked #Fail = Burger King Burgers #WIN!”

3. Opportunity to offer freebies and coupons to customers via your other platforms that are healthy from Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus.

Meanwhile… protect yourself so that you don’t have to clean up the mess!

According to this article by Todd Haselton, published in TechnoBuffalo, Burger King seems to be at fault:

“I did some research in Twitter’s own terms of service, and it appears that Burger King is the one at fault. The team should have quickly changed their password and followed the advised steps:

Protect Your Account with Simple Precautions!

If your account has been compromised, take these additional safeguards:

  • Delete any unwanted Tweets that were posted while your account was compromised.
  • Scan your computers for viruses and malware, especially if unauthorized account behaviors continue to be posted after you’ve changed the password.
  • Install security patches for your operating system and applications.
  • Always use a strong, new password you don’t use elsewhere and would be difficult to guess.
  • Visit our Safe Tweeting help page for more information on avoiding hacks and phishing.”

I will add that it’s a good idea to change your customer’s passwords every other month, and use “unfollow” software to rid your account of spammers and unwanted tweets.

Be Proactive and Reactive

No brand or individual is immune to being hacked. Protecting your online intellectual property makes good business sense, especially when social media plays such a major role in marketing your products and services and protecting your brand’s reputation. Creating a policy and an action plan can help thwart malicious attacks. It’s well worth the investment.

On a final note, do you think Burger King’s brand hurt by this social media incursion?

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