Tasteless Tweet of the Week: Microsoft Apologizes for Winehouse Plug

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Sometimes you hit, and sometimes you miss. Microsoft missed big time this week.

Within hours after the announcement on Saturday of the death of British singer Amy Winehouse in her London apartment, TweetBox360, the official public relations Twitter account for XBox360 UK, decided to engage in a little memorial marketing.

“Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune: zune.social.net/album/Amy-Wine...” tweeted the company.

Fans weren’t amused, and accused the giant of Redmond of engaging in some rather tasteless opportunistic marketing. “Tasteless” and “crass” were among the tweeted accusations that followed by fans.

The company quickly began backtracking, and the Twitter account quickly began apologizing, according to MSNBC.

“Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you,” read the first tweet, quickly followed by a second. “With Amy W’s passing, the world has lost a huge talent. Our thoughts are with Amy’s family and friends at this very sad time,” read the next tweet.

The nature of tweet-based marketing – the point of which is to put the tweet out as quickly as possible – means that not everything gets fully checked for appropriateness, unlike with say...a magazine advertisement, a TV commercial or even a Facebook post, and Microsoft isn’t the first member of this club.

Baked goods company Entenmann’s recently had to apologize for a tweet that seemed to use the much-disliked Casey Anthony trial verdict to sell more baked goods, and designer Kenneth Cole had to lay out the mea culpas earlier this year after using the anti-government demonstrations in Cairo, Egypt to drum up interest in the company’s spring fashion line.

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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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