Coca-Cola Twitter campaign backfires as it’s made to tweet ‘Mein Kampf’

5 Feb 2015

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One of the #MakeitHappy tweets posted by the Coca-Cola Twitter page. Image via Gawker

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It seems there’s no pleasing some people, as a Coca-Cola marketing campaign – #MakeitHappy – was hijacked to make it turn quotes from Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ into happy pictures.

As part of the campaign, the world’s largest drinks manufacturer released an advertisement during this year’s Super Bowl which called on people to turn online abuse into a happy image in the design of basic code which turns the tweeted message into, say, a burger drinking a bottle of Coca-Cola.

However, Max Read from Gawker decided to test how aware this Twitter bot was by sending it messages from Adolf Hitler’s hateful autobiography, Mein Kampf, and see whether it would repeat the messages.

To do this, according to Read, Gawker created its own Twitter bot – @MeinCoke – to send the book line by line to Coca-Cola’s bot and see how long it would take them to notice.

As it turned out, Gawker’s own bot managed to make it to 14 lines of the book before Coca-Cola realised it was essentially retweeting racist vitriol.

In his piece about the experiment, Read, with his tongue placed firmly in cheek, wrote, “Even when the text is shaped like a dog, it is disconcerting to see Coca-Cola, the soda company, urge its social media followers to safeguard the existence and reproduction of white racists. Is Coca-Cola a white nationalist organisation? Its Twitter says: Yes.”

Understandably, Coca-Cola was not the least bit happy with Gawker’s stunt. A spokesperson responded to an Adweek enquiry, saying, “The #MakeItHappy message is simple: The internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It’s unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn’t. Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign.”

The news coincides with Twitter's CEO, Dick Costolo, coming out and saying the company “suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years”, but has reiterated the company’s plans to place greater enforcement on the microblogging site.

Gawker-tweet

The text that makes up the happy creature reads, ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.’ Image via Gawker

Gawker-tweet-2

Text reads, ‘German-Austria must be restored to the great German Motherland. And not indeed on any grounds of economic calculation whatsoever. No, no.’ Image via Gawker

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com