A NATIONAL Mexican restaurant chain has been forced to remove a ”racist” Facebook post involving a famous Filipino boxer, the latest in a series of social media stuff-ups by Australian brands.
Mad Mex, which has 30 restaurants around the country, was flooded with negative Facebook comments last Tuesday after posting a Photoshopped picture of a Justin Bieber album cover featuring the face of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.
The text on the picture read: ”Justino Bieber, One Time, Mexican Edition”.
Within minutes the post was inundated with complaints from irate users that not only was 10 time world title winner Pacquiao not Mexican, but the joke was offensive and racist.
”15 minutes of research on Google for a Mexican would have given you better results – having a Filipino trying to pass for Mexican is just wrong, some might even consider an insult,” wrote one user.
”I hope your burritos are better than your research,” wrote another, while another comment read: ”This casual racism makes me feel uncomfortable.”
Mad Mex responded to the criticism on Facebook on Wednesday night, but opted not to delete the offensive picture, writing: ”We apologise if we have caused ofense (sic) with this post, we didn’t ever intend it to be racist. We have learnt a valuable lesson in doing our research prior to posting.”
However a representative from Mad Mex’s PR agency, Liquid Ideas, today told News Ltd the post had been removed last night.
”They were managing their Facebook page internally, but when the post came to our attention we stepped in,” she said.
”It was a good lesson learned, I think.”
The stuff-up came just 24 hours after a similar incident involving Jeep Australia, which was forced to remove a photograph of a scantily clad woman from its Facebook page after several users complained it was sexist.
The page was later flooded with complaints from angry Jeep fans demanding the photo be republished, saying the company’s detractors were nothing but ”whining feminist lesbians”.
”Pretty girls in sexy clothes have been used as part of the automotive selling strategies (sic) for years, just because a handfull (sic) of narrow-minded women libbers dont (sic) like it the rest of the world has to miss out. Grow up you whining bunch of feminist lesbians and get a life. SEX SELLS!” wrote one user.
”I bet if there was (sic) a couple of guys in the jeep wearing Glee pink V Neck T shirts saying hello sailor there (sic) be no up roar (sic),” wrote another.
Fiat Chrysler Australia, Jeep Australia’s parent company, did not respond to requests for comment.
Adelaide social media consultant Michelle Prak said it was impossible to predict how a social media campaign would go, but that it was essential for brands to closely monitor fan feedback.
”The first few comments on a Facebook post or Twitter tag can set the tone for an entire campaign, so if someone is sarcastic with your post or takes offence quickly, others seem to easily jump onto that bandwagon,” she said.
”So brands need to pay close attention to how their work is tracking early.”
However senior social media strategist Tom Williamson, of national PR agency PPR, said quite often marketing ”fails” are actually ”wins” for a brand.
”I think when it comes to social media ‘fails’, most are not really failures at all,” he said.
”If we go by the old stat of ‘people tell one friend about a good experience and seven about a bad experience’, and those seven people have been informed via a platform that’s actually owned and controlled by the brand, it can be considered a win.
”Comments on a brand’s own platform, like a Facebook page, where they can be monitored, controlled and responded to are actually a good thing.”
A YEAR OF SOCIAL MEDIA FAILS
November 2011: Qantas suffered from a case of bad Twitter timing when it invited people to tweet their ”dream luxury inflight experience” in the midst of staff industrial action which had left customers stranded all over the world. The #QantasLuxury hashtag was quickly hijacked by tweets like ”#qantasluxury is a QANTAS plane that actually flies.”
Qantas suffered from a case of bad Twitter timing with this tweet. Source: Supplied
January 26: Tooheys’ Facebook page attracted racist and lewd comments after it asked fans to nominate ”things essential to a great Australia Day barbie”. Answers included ”chicks with their tits out” and ”getting munted and f***n punching an immigrant”.
February 10: Woolworths became the butt of internet joking after asking Facebook users to complete the sentence ”This weekend I can’t wait to…”. One of the most popular responses? ”Go to Coles”.
February 27: Coca Cola’s Facebook page was flooded with obscenities and insults after it asked fans to post one-word comments to create ”a happy story”.
Coca Cola Australia
Seemed like a good idea at the time for Coca Cola. Source: Supplied
March 6: Coles was inundated with negative comments after asking Twitter users to complete the sentence ”In my house it’s a crime not to buy…”. Hundreds responded with tweets like ”In my house it’s a crime not to buy… BREAD AND MILK AT PRICES THAT ALLOW PRIMARY PRODUCERS TO SURVIVE.”
November 19: Jeep Australia was forced to remove a photograph of a scantily-clad woman from its Facebook page after users complained it was sexist.
November 20: National restaurant chain Mad Mex apologises on its Facebook page for posting a ”racist” joke depicting Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao as a “Mexican” version of Justin Bieber.
November 22: The Twitter hashtag #susanalbumparty to promote Susan Boyle’s new record goes viral for all the wrong reasons when fans notice it could be read as ”Su’s anal bum party”.