“I shop at Waitrose because… I don”t like being surrounded by poor people”: Internet jokers hijack “posh people”s supermarket” Twitter stuntSupermarket asks Twitter why people go there using the hashtag #WaitroseReasons but got some answers it will not have liked
Majority of people who replied concentrated on its posh reputation and only a minority gave serious answers”I shop at Waitrose because Clarrisa’s pony just WILL NOT eat ASDA Value straw,” one said
Another said: “I shop atWaitrose because the toilet paper is made from 24ct gold thread”Waitrose”s PR team tweeted back that they enjoyed “most of them”
No one should under- estimate the marketing power of the internet.
But, as Waitrose has found to its cost, it doesn’t do to underestimate its users – and their sense of humour – either.
The store giant tried to harness the influence of Twitter by launching a promotional campaign asking for people to finish the sentence ‘I shop at Waitrose because…’
PR error: Waitrose is trying to shed its reputation for being just for the rich but a Twitter campaign led to a string of tweets lampooning them
Whoops: The supermarket asked a question online but may not have liked the answers
Clearly bosses had hoped to see positive tweets spread far and wide across the globe.
But instead the chain – which has a Royal Warrant – found itself the subject of ridiculefor its upmarket image and largely middle-class patronage.
Derogatory tweets, accompanied with the hashtag #WaitroseReasons, included one from a user who joked that she favoured the store because she ‘didn’t like being surrounded by poorpeople’.
Answer: This response was one of many that spread online in response the Waitrose”s campaign this week
Another spoof reply said: ‘I shop at Waitrose because darling, Harrods is just too much of a trek mid-week’.
While a number of replies did genuinely praise the store, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership,many of the tweets poked fun at the store’s perceived ‘wealthy’ shopper.
The comments have become a huge internet draw – and left commentators divided over whether the campaign has been a PR disaster or triumph.
Celebrity endorsements: Waitrose is a favourite haunt for the famous, including Abbey Clancy, left, and Fearne Cotton, right – while Kate Middleton has also been spotted in its aisles
Good reputation: Waitrose is well known for its quality produce but some of its ranges are more expensive
Waitrose is renowned for its quality produce and exclusive food ranges by celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal.
It bolstered its royal credentials in 2009 when it was involved in an investment deal with Prince Charles’s Duchy Originals food company.
It is not the first Twitter promotional stunt to backfire.
Not all bad: Some answered the question with genuine reasons for loving Waitrose
Earlier this year, McDonalds urged people to tell their tales about the fastfood chain using the hashtag #McDStories.
Customers replied telling horror stories about their experiences in the restaurants.
Despite the Waitrose ridicule, some argued the campaign had been a success. One observer said: ‘No such thing as bad publicity!’
The supermarket took a similar view.
A spokesman added: ‘We like to hear what people think. We’ve thanked everyone for the genuine and funny tweets.’
WAITROSE TWITTER FAILURE IS ONE OF MANY BY BIG BUSINESS ONLINE
Waitrose may have had an uncomfortable few days following a PR campaign online that went sour but it is not the first big player to be burned in this way.
Many other businesses have tried to whip up interest on Twitter only for it to blow up in their faces, while others initiatives have just been plain poorly judged or in bad taste.
In 2009 the Daily Telegraph wanted to show how techno-savvy it was by allowing tweets about the Budget to appear on its website automatically using a Twitterfall.
If someone used the hashtag #budget it would pop up on telegraph.co.uk but it was quickly hijacked by those who used it to make jokes at the paper”s expense (pictured right)
Some choice comments included: “Even the Indie is better than this drivel”.
McDonalds also wanted to boost its profile online by using the hashtag #McDStories to ask people to regale stories of their hard-working staff – but it didn”t go at all to plan.
Tweeters came straight back with their horror stories at restaurants, claiming they were given food poisoning, and that one burger contained a finger nail.
Search engine giant Bing also courted controversy when it pledged to donate to charity following a devastating Japanese earthquake in a stunt they believed would also boost their profile online.
Their staff tweeted: “How you can #SupportJapan – For every retweet, @bing will give $1 to Japan quake victims, up to $100k”.
But instead all it got was a barrage of abuse from people convinced it was in poor taste.
Only this year coffee giant Starbucks put its foot in it on Twitter.
They were forced to issue an apology after it managed to upset people in Ireland.
It “erroneously posted” a tweet which encouraged followers on there to “show us what makes you proud to be British” – and outraged replies followed.
And sometimes companies get it completely and utterly wrong.
Condom giant Durex decided to run a PR campaign with the hashtag #DurexJoke.
In utterly disastrous fashion it decided to start the ball rolling with this joke to its South African followers – “Why did God give men penises So they’d have at least one way to shut a woman up. #DurexJoke”.
It went very badly for them from there.