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Honest Mistake? Or Capitalizing on Tragedy and Twitter Trending Topics?


Was this just an honest mistake? A plucky young intern that just didn’t know what they were doing? Or was this an attempt to make news, to capitalize on tragedy and the resultant Twitter Trending Topic? You be the judge. I don’t even know what to think anymore.

It’s exceedingly hard to imagine anyone would purposely tweet this on a day like today. (For posterity’s sake, there was a horrible mass shooting in Aurora CO at the premiere of the newest Batman movie).

The tweet embedded, until they delete it:

In an admittedly pointless attempt to keep this sort of thing from ever happening again, spread it around like mad on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and LinkedIn, and make this company feel shame. And I’d like to hear what you think in the comments below? What was the true intent of the Tweeter here?
UPDATE – apologetic tweets from Celeb Boutique



My final take: it appears to have been one big colossal mistake. Their PR is not based in the United States. While this tragedy is likely a worldwide story at this point, it’s entirely possible their social media people had not heard about what happened.

For readily apparent reasons, I advise you to not ride the coattails of a Twitter Trending Topic without understanding why the term or phrase is trending. Things trend for both good and bad reasons. Once click on the trending topic “Aurora” would have shed some light on why it was trending. Sometimes it’s hard not to go 500 miles an hour when using social media. My best advice is to be extremely careful with your brand, even if it takes an extra 60 seconds to do some rudimentary research.

Faith in humanity: at least partially restored. Thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Aurora, CO.



  1. I think they didn’t tweet this to capitalize on the tragedy in Colorado. I really, honestly think and hope they did not know what happened. Looks like they’re going to have to do major damage control once they realize this. Then again, it’s been an HOUR and the tweet is still up. Sigh.

  2. It looks more to me like a scheduled tweet and they just forgot or didn’t realize that it was out there.

    • I am not sure you can really schedule a tweet around a current trending topic. Someone saw it trending this morning and decided, for whatever reason, to do the tweet.

  3. Have they offered an apology?

  4. Bethany Prange says:

    Surely it had to be a mistake, right? Not that I don’t think some people would love to capitalize on tragedy. . . But man – how could you think that this would go over in a positive way?

  5. You can’t fix stupid

  6. Let’s not spread this story, and instead give the tweeter the benefit of the doubt. I’d rather assume that he or she hadn’t seen the news yet, and didn’t realize Aurora is the site of a massacre. 

    On my private Facebook profile, I saw wonderful young people talking about seeing The Dark Knight, and never mentioning the shooting. Just now, some of them are starting to talk about it, and expressing anxiety about the tragedy. 

    • It is entirely possible that this was an honest mistake.

      As far as marketing goes, it was incredibly sloppy. All you have to do is see WHY #Aurora was trending. So even if it was an honest mistake, marketers and professional communicators have something to learn here

      • Oh, absolutely! When I see something trending, I check it out, at least out of curiosity. 

        I’m glad this was an oversight. 

      • That’s why this is so offensive. If you’re going to try to trend jack, rules 1,3, 6 and 8 are pretty clear about knowing WHY something is trending to be damn sure it fits the brand. This was careless, reckless and flat out lazy IMO, as is their ‘oops, we didn’t know better’ excuse. It’s someone’s job to know better. FWIW.

  7. They issued about 6 tweets apologizing. Things move so fast and a wrong tweet brings down an onslaught on a brand. I’m pretty sure Celeb Boutique doesn’t follow major news trends.

    • In this case, the right move is to ascertain why Aurora was trending. That’s so easy to do. Things always trend for a reason. It is ill-advised to jump in with your similarly named product without knowing details. 

  8. They have since apologized for the insensitive tweets. They are not based in the US, evidently, and weren’t yet aware of the situation.

  9. I’d love to think this is just a mistake. Someone that hadn’t heard the news yet and just posted away, unknowing. 

    But if you are smart enough to check what’s trending to use in your tweet…. it makes me think you are someone that knows how to use Twitter and would have noticed all the stories on this. 

    Did you see – “@NRA_Rifleman Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?”

  10. A company with no clue on Social Media – even their apology is broken into several tweets. When reading the “stream” it’s hacked and makes them look worse in my opinion …


  1. […] for companies as more than a few have wrongly tried to trendjack for their brands; the latest was a ‘mistaken’ tweet sent after the Aurora […]

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