In the latest episode of “How Not to Do Social Media,” the Golf Channel is apologizing for a now-deleted tweet in which it asked users to share their “golf dreams” on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington.
Twitter users instantly began berating and deriding the @GolfChannel Twitter account Wednesday morning after a tweet was sent out at 8:40 a.m. In it, the Golf Channel asked users to share their “golf” dreams using the hashtag #DreamDay. The network asked users to complete the sentence “I have a dream that…”
A number of Twitter users could not resist the urge to snarkily take the channel up on its offer:
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â€” The Nae. (@lenaenae) August 28, 2013
Even CNN’s Piers Morgan joined the conversation, referencing pro-Golf’s segregated history:
â€” Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 28, 2013
Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, which hosts the Masters, did not have an African-American member until 1990. Some users shot back at Morgan, noting that Tiger Woods did, in fact, win the tournament in 1997, to which Morgan countered that it would have been “unthinkable” for a black man to play at Augusta in 1963, when MLK gave the speech.
Clearly, this was not the type of discussion the Golf Channel had in mind when it posted the tweet, which serves as yet another cautionary tale about the dangers of contrived social media tie-ins. It’s an all-too-common story for brands in an era when the desire for "virality" and Twitter relevance can so easily impair good judgment. For reference, revisit the highly offensive Hurricane Sandy-related Twitter campaigns by the Gap and American Appeal, recapped nicely by Adweek.
The Golf Channel promptly deleted its MLK tweet, but the castigation continued throughout the day, including the obligatory call for the social media manager’s job.
whoever runs social media for the Golf Channel should be fired IMMEDIATELY...#fullstop
â€” Jason Meyer (@jmeyer88) August 28, 2013
Finally, at 2:22 p.m., the channel sent out a tweet apologizing for the “inappropriate” bit of social media marketing.
Our earlier tweet was inappropriate. The intent was to celebrate this important date in history & we regret we failed to meet that standard.
â€” Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 28, 2013
Golf Channel is owned by NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA).