Lessons to Learn From Legendary Hashtag Fails

There are times in one’s career where mistakes will most likely be made, that’s part of being human. Luckily for us, some of those mistakes can be very entertaining to follow along with.

An example of a social media marketing mistake that can occur is when people use hashtags in their marketing campaigns that just do not work. There are different reasons why a hashtag may fail and backfire, potentially tarnishing a brand. But what if you could avoid hashtag fails?

Here’s a list compiled of some Twitter hashtag fails that are sure to entertain as well as educate you on what NOT to do for your Twitter campaigns. Take notes so that you can avoid these hashtag mistakes.

Bill Cosby’s #Cosbymeme fail

bill cosby hashtag fail

Back in November of 2014, Bill Cosby decided to ask his millions of Twitter Followers to “meme him” and hashtag #Cosbymeme. Unfortunately, the timing for this campaign could not have been more wrong considering the numerous accusations that surfaced of him drugging and raping women. The tweet has since been deleted due to fans creating memed highlighting the rape accusations against him.

The lesson to take away from the Cosby misstep was that while this was obviously not a planned news story on his team’s behalf, there is a risk you take when promoting a User Generated Content campaign that asks people to use your brand.

Susan Boyle’s #susanalbumparty fail


The Britain’s Got Talent sensation Susan Boyle received a ton of publicity for her album release party back in 2012, but it wasn’t quite the publicity she anticipated. Her PR team sent out a tweet with the goal of promoting the party by using the hashtag #susanalbumparty. I immediately notice two words that I don’t think her PR team noticed before they sent out the tweet.

The lesson here is to remember that since hashtags don’t have spaces between words, you need to make sure you aren’t accidentally making a hashtag with words other than intended.

Entenmann’s #notguilty fail

entenmanns hashtag fail

Entenmann’s baked goods used the hashtag #notguilty to tell people about their low-calorie food options but it backfired because it was during the controversial Casey Anthony “Not Guilty” murder verdict. People did not react positively to this.

A lesson to be learned from this hashtag fail is to always check whether people are already using your hashtag before tweeting it out because you don’t want your message to be misinterpreted like Entenmann’s was.

McDonald’s #McDstories fail

mcdonalds hashtag fail

The #McDstories campaign is considered the most widely discussed company hashtag fail that ever occurred. In 2012 they sent out tweets like the one above asking people to share positive experiences they have had with McDonalds. Instead of tweeting pleasant times they had, people tweeted horror stories about the fast-food chain.

A lesson to learn from this fail is to make sure you have a backup plan in case your campaign does backfire like theirs did.

These are just a few hashtag fails that are worth being shared due to amount of attention they received. It just goes to show that you really need to be conscious of the certain hashtags you choose for your social media marketing because one little hashtag can be misconceived and taken out of context and could cost you followers and fans.