Hashtag campaigns that fizzled

November 3, 2021 Digital Marketing 0 Comments

One of the most popular marketing tools is the use of hashtags. But a promoted hashtag campaign failing in an epic manner is a terrible experience. And yet it happens quite frequently. Most organizations start-out hashtag campaigns that have the right intentions and are, in their minds, focused on achieving their desired goal only to have those hashtags used by tweeps to express negative sentiments. Thus, generating engagement and virality for the brand but in a negative tonality.

While conceptualizing a hashtag campaign it is always crucial to look at the other side of the coin. Ask yourself; How can my hashtag be used to bash my brand or can my hashtag be used as opposed to my intention? If the answers to these questions are easy or in the positive, then you will have to come up with an alternative hashtag.

Why do hashtags fail

While creating hashtags for specific campaigns, a lot of people fail to use the right words, keep the hashtag long, do not capitalize the first letter of the word or just don’t conduct their research before framing a hashtag. Here are some examples of hashtag campaigns that failed in the most manner.

Hilarity in failure

One of the most epic fails & funny campaigns is the #susanalbumparty Yes, that really is a hashtag. Instead of looking at it as an album release party, twitterati turned it into an epic hysterical party on twitter. This epic blunder could have been avoided by simply putting the hashtag this way #SusanAlbumParty

Hashtag to bashtag

A few years ago, McDonalds launched a hashtag campaign with #McDStories where their goal was to inspire heartwarming stories about their experiences with the brand. But instead the campaign attracted tweeps who shared their #McDHorrorStories by hijacking the hashtag and turning it into a bashtag. Here are some sample horror tweets:

An epic backfire

The NYPD, more commonly known as the New York Police Department began a hashtag campaign with #MyNYPD during the peak of the Ferguson uprising. The uprising began with the death of a black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer. The shooting gave way to protests that took place for weeks. And the NYPD began a hashtag campaign at this time asking people to tweet their photos of officers in action. And needless to say, the campaign and the hashtag failed because people started posting about police brutality.


While hashtags are the most preferred ways to increase brand visibility and create conversations, the right combination of words, timing, acronyms and the context of the hashtag should be taken into account before launching a hashtag campaign. Not giving much thought to these factors may lead to a long term embarrassment and PR disaster for brands. It is always crucial to get your hashtag right. Take a look at some very well thought of and planned hashtag campaigns.

About the Author

Juie Merchant

An habitual reader, writing is a passion that flows naturally for Juie. She ensures that every piece written is well-researched & is clearly highlighted in her work.

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