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Can Marketers Win By Going Rogue? WhatTedSaid Meets MLB




Derek Jeter gets a sex change. The Miami Marlins are hosting Free Pitbull Night and the San Diego Padres would like to encourage all handicapped fans to stay home.

Sounds like an all sports version of SNL’s Weekend Update. There, it would be funny. But on the official Major League Baseball Facebook Pages, not so much.

Yesterday, these kinds of posts appeared on a half a dozen official MLB Pages and fans assumed it was the work of a hacker with a grudge against baseball. Turns out the posts were loaded by an authorized Page admin who went “rogue.”  The person in question wrote the posts as a joke and says they were never meant to appear in public. He also told Deadspin that the ones that went live weren’t even the “best” of the lot. Then he basically blamed MLB Advanced Media, saying, “Access to all 30 MLB teams’ Facebook pages is put in the hands of employees making less than living wage.”

So, basically, if you don’t get paid enough, it’s okay to screw around with a gazillion dollar brand.

In the end, MLB walked away with a black eye and a red-face but it’s also likely that they tripled their Facebook page views in the last few days. Gotta figure at least some of those folks liked the page while they were there, so this could turn out to be a good thing. I doubt it was a plan, but I’m sure the MLB marketing folks are finding a way to capitalize on all the press.

On the other side of this is Universal Studios who gave their marketers the green light to post offensive Twitter Tweets loaded with foul language, racist remarks, and sexual content. The campaign was created to promote the raunchy summer film, Ted.

Here’s one of the few Tweets I could find that was clean enough to repost:

Funny. The rest. . . well, see for yourself (but make sure there are no kiddies looking over your shoulder.)

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, Universal hired the co-writers of the film and told them to “go to town.” They did and in a few short months, the account has amassed 411, 277 followers, so apparently there’s a market for this stuff.

I know people use foul language on Twitter every day, but is it okay for Universal Studios to do it? Sure, they made the movie, but it comes with an R-rating which restricts the age of viewers. Even the online “red band” trailer makes you put in your age before you can watch it. But Twitter isn’t restricted. It’s out there for all to see, and when you label it with a cute Teddy bear graphic, it’s bound to pull in some people who don’t (and shouldn’t) get the joke.

I’ll admit that my tolerance for foul language is lower than most, but don’t brands have an obligation to be mindful of what they’re putting out into the world? Or is it okay to offend if it brings in bigger dollars at the box office?

What do you think? How far would you go on Facebook or Twitter in order to create buzz? And would you go further, if you knew there’d be a bigger payday at the end?