When Justine Sacco, a PR executive of all people, posted the above tweet before boarding a flight, little did she know of the reaction while she was in the air. Amongst the thousands of replies and retweets condemning her comment, Gogo, a provider of in-flight wi-fi, decided to use the buzz as a way to market itself with the following tweet:
Not only was the tweet not very funny, nor did it make a lot of sense in the context, but it is one of the most recent examples of how some brands try to use social media to position themselves as "current" and "edgy" by piggybacking on trending stories - and fail.
While Gogo's tweet is not offensive in itself, its timing is pretty poor, and the company later admitted so in an apology. Opportunistic tweets like that from Gogo can be extremely powerful in the right circumstances, but all-too-often, we see marketing departments posting before thinking thoroughly about what the consequences might be given the speed and ferocity at which one tiny piece of social media content can turn into a backlash they never saw coming.