Today is the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt correctly predicted would “live in infamy.” However, Roosevelt failed to foresee Twitter, where one does not have to drop even a single bomb to achieve infamy. The SpaghettiOs social media team was reminded of that this morning, when they woke to find the reactions to their middle-of-the-night post noting the event that marked the United States’ entry into WWII. “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us,” read the tweet, which was accompanied by am image of a grinning circular noodle clutching an American flag. Needless to say, many did not find this to be an appropriate way to honor the 2,402 Americans who died on December 7, 1941.
It took around thirteen hours and thousands of re-tweets, @ replies, expressions of outrage, and jokes for SpaghettiOs to delete the post and issue an apology:
You’d think that brands would have learned to be extra-sensitive when it comes to handling tragedies on social media. (See AT&T’s sort of infamous take on 9/11.) As is often noted after these types of incidents, SpaghettiOs’ tweet likely wasn’t the work of a boneheaded intern, but the result of meetings and e-mails with multiple marketing professionals who should have known better. It’s almost as if they knew exactly what they were doing: After all, we’re sure there are at least some people who logged onto the Internet today having completely forgotten SpaghettiOs existed and, as a result of the Twitter imbroglio, are now craving a can.