Lowe's Social Media Fail


Lowe's, the big home-improvement chain, decided to use Facebook to explain its decision to pull ads from the television series All-Amerian Muslim.

Issues of common decency and diversity aside, there was an obvious lack of think-through in committing to the ads and then running away when faced with what seems to have been a fairly limited pressure campaign by the professionally outraged.

But for the purposes of this site, I'm most interested in the disastrous use of social media. While Lowe's talks about avoiding controversy, many of the folks who showed up on Facebook to support the company's decision made harsh and derogatory comments about Islam and the millions who practice it.

Didn't anyone at Lowe's HQ consider the possibility that the namby-pamby verbiage of the official statement would be shouted down by its own supporters, and that those supporters would, fairly or not, be heard as a de facto voice of the corporation on this matter?

Looks to me that using social media compounded the errors Lowe's had made already.


7 Comments for "Lowe's Social Media Fail"

  • Craig December 15, 2011 5:58 pm

    I think those involved in commerece will always anger someone when they support controversial issues. While I recognize it introduces another level of bureaucracy, I suggest in the future unless Lowe's or any other commercial group has found the "Hill on which they are willing to die" they support organizations whose charter is to provide unbiased information that helps the public to understand controversial issues. These types of organizations are used to both supporters and detractors commenting on the information they provide and any publicity for them will likely have a positive effect.

  • GS December 15, 2011 10:24 am

    In this age of being Politically correct there is no safe stance for any company, you are darned if you do and darned if you don't (yes, I toned it down, not from being PC but from not needing to be crude to make my point). No matter what is said or done one group or another will take umbrage and go on the attack. I once did a paper on number of souls that will enter heaven and came up with the answer of zero based on each and every religion canceling out another religions views on reaching heaven. Sadly people are drawn to small group almost tribal views by our very nature and that makes tolerance difficult as one group will be the "haves" and the other the "have nots" causing distrust and tension. Strife and conflict occur, religion is often claimed but ultimately it is about power and control as slighted elders in one group take advantage of the young and inexperienced to consolidate the elders powers, enabling control the of the general population. Experience, knowledge and tolerance are the antithesis and bane of these radical groups no matter the groups origins or views. A knowledgeable thoughtful person is harder to control then those who like sheep are used to being led around without having to think and take responsibility for their own actions.

  • Jim December 15, 2011 10:14 am

    @Hank One evangelical conservative group known for their anti-muslim agenda raised unfounded concerns and Lowe's fell over. That was indeed a fairly limited pressure campaign that caused the mindless decision by Lowe's. It is now that the usual folks come out and continue bashing people of other faiths. And yes, unfortunately there are many of those who have zero tolerance to people with other believes and opinions.

  • Eric Jewett December 14, 2011 2:41 pm

    This seems like two opportunities to differentiate themselves (in a good way) wasted. The initial decision, as a statement that they want to support and provide to ALL Americans, was a risk, even if that is their belief. Some up-front thought should have prepared them for a negative response, and they should have had talking points at the ready. That said, their idea of "going social" to handle it could have been a great opportunity for honest dialog, or at least getting those talking points into the public, even if they did need to retreat from them. It appears they underestimated their audience. I doubt deleting dissenting posts would have worked, and may have backfired as "censorship." Rather, strong responses along their talking points / principles would have set them above the noise of the less tolerant, if well-meaning, visitors. Probably a lesson there to be learned, by many of us.

  • Ed Cone December 14, 2011 11:43 am

    The post is about a company using social media, and the possibility that commenters will be taken as the voice of a brand. For a blog about the business use of technology, that's a key issue -- and one that can be abstracted from any particular example, or a given argument. That said: I don't think anyone has forgotten about 9/11, nor do I think the people who protested a series that shows mainstream alternatives to extremism are more patriotic than anyone else. Edward Cone editor Baselinemag.com

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