Dogfish Disaster Averted

As we have gravitated towards becoming a society submerged in technology, in recent years, outlets of social media have become essential marketing tools for many companies and organizations.Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine are few forms of social media utilized by most. While social media can strongly influence consumer behaviors and increase consumer awareness it can also be detrimental to a company’s image. In some cases social media can be the cause of a PR crisis. Crisis management is the process by which an organization deals with this major event that threatens to harm the organization.

The American Red Cross is a prime example of an organization who exemplifies strong crisis management skills. This honorable humanitarian organization managed to dodge-a-bullet back in 2011 when an intern fired off a personal tweet on the company’s twitter account. The tweet read “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd”.

red cross

This uniquely unorthodox and unprofessional tweet received a lot of negative attention from the general public. In this particular circumstance social media proved to be the cause of the crisis. When responding to the tweet the Red Cross avoided disaster by acknowledging that the tweet went out, deleting it, and explaining with humor that is was a mistake. This is an example of crisis management where the Red Cross turned a potentially harmful tweet in to an opportunity for engagement.

Thankfully, the Red Cross realized the potential of social media and understood the power that it has to bring down a major organization. Now, other companies can look at this experience and utilize it to learn for themselves. After understanding the Red Cross’s response it is easy to break down their post-crisis steps and keep them in mind for other emergency situations. First, they were able to assess the situation. They realized the crisis was a major problem but they came to the conclusion that they could handle it which brought them to their second step, adapting their message. They considered their stakeholders and created a strong message to appeal to them. Lastly, they were able to analyze and learn from the situation post-crisis. Although this could have led to a horrific downfall for one of the greatest humanitarian organizations, everyone was able to benefit, understand, and learn from this experience.

red cross 2

-Parker Farfour, Caitlin Ford, Alex Corrigan, Kaitlin Batson

10 thoughts on “Dogfish Disaster Averted

  1. I think it was incredibly smart of them to adapt their response to their stakeholders. That helps maintain their loyalty as well as move forward from the situation and show that they have their stakeholders’s best interests in mind and that it was a simple mistake and they still care about them. It is pretty comical how this came up through the American Red Cross of all corporations. Initially, I assumed that the employee would be fired and a new social media manager with a little more responsibility would step up to the plate. It brings the saying “you had one job” to mind, how hard is it to log out of your social media? Or notice the icon next to your status update? However, I find it really ethical in a way that they claimed the mistake was “human.” Most business people would fire who made the mistake especially with all of the negative feedback from the accident. The fact that the ARC made that claim really spoke true to who they are, a corporation that allows second chances and fixes mistakes in an ethical way.

    -Taylor Waddell

  2. We just discussed this in IMC 1 and I thought the way that it was handled was very graceful for the situation. American Red Cross admitted it’s mistakes and knew that it’s employees were human. They explained to their followers and supporters what had happened and tried to make light of the tweet that was meant to be sent our from their social media coordinator’s personal Twitter account. Dealing with real crises all the time, the American Red Cross knew that this Twitter faux-pas could be solved. Dogfish IPA also responded back with humor, helping dissolve the situation even more. As a Communication Studies major with a concentration in PR, it is helpful for me to look at examples of negative events and see how companies deal with them .

    – Rachel White

  3. This is a great post! I am a student in the Integrated Marketing Communication class and we discussed this example of a PR crisis in one of our previous classes this semester. The Red Cross did a wonderful job of acknowledging the mistake that had taken place and also making the situation almost comical, since the personal tweet that was posted was not all that terrible. Another part of this situation that our professor told us about was the fact that Dogfish Head Beer tweeted back to the Red Cross and added humor to the crisis as well as promoted donations to the organization. I thought this was a very effective way for both companies to handle the situation and it was only a minor PR crisis for Red Cross. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I think that this is an excellent example of crisis management, especially in today’s world where we are overrun with social media. The fact of it is that this sort of mistake can happen (and does happen) to many companies and I think that the Red Cross handled this scenario very well. There were definitely other routes they could have taken, but I think that the way they did so was the most professional and responsible way to do so. I feel like a lot of other companies could benefit from looking at how the Red Cross handled themselves in this situation, and learning from this experience.

  5. I think The Red Cross was extremely lucky to land on their feet after this mishap. They were also lucky that Dogfish Head’s social media manager was kind enough to make a joke about it. I also think it helped that it was the American Red Cross tweeting instead of a brand that doesn’t always set out with the best intention. This is a great example of crisis management because this could have turned out a lot worse than it did. We are all humans and have all made mistakes as well as typos or accidentally sent a text (or tweet) that was meant to go to somebody else. Luckily they landed on their feet and people understood it was an accident. Of course I believe it helped that the hashtag was totally hilarious and also helped the Dogfish Head brand and made them look clever. Overall this was a funny and great example of social media error and recovery. #gettngslizzerd

  6. We recently learned about PR crisis in IMC I and this was an example thy was used in class. I found it particularly interesting then as I still do now, because the use of social media has dominated the maps in many areas of society today. The fact that this intern accidentally posted to the page of Red Cross instead of her own is unfortunate, but I belive things like this happen more often then we may think. I agree with you that Red Cross handled this situation very effectivley and can now be looked at as a possitive definition of what a company shoul do in a crisis such as this. The fact that they recognized the crisis while keeping in mind their stakeholders was very smart in my opinion, and handling the situation with humor was probably the most effective way to overt the crisis! Thanks for the read!

  7. I think it was great how the Red Cross managed to turn a mistake into something to benefit them. They gracefully and promptly were able to fix the problem in a professional way. This just shows that there is a way to go about fixing social media mistakes in a positive way. The Red Cross definitely proved that they know how to avert a disaster on social media!

  8. We just talked about this social media disaster in IMC 1. I think it is an amazing comeback from what could have been a detrimental accident. The way American Red Cross stepped up, apologized and interacted with Dogfish Head brand helped both brands come out on top. Social Media is a great way to advertise for a brand but it can quickly turn for the worse in a matter of seconds or with a click of a button.

    Tiffany Capps

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