Uranium Needs A Social Media Campaign, Obviously

I guess it bears repeating until people start listening: marketers, please stop asking people to say nice things about your brand or product on social media, because it’s a safe guess it’s going to backfire horribly. Unless you enjoy some sort of association with secular sainthood (and possibly even then) in most industries fishing for compliments is just going to unleash a torrent of invective.

It’s safe to say uranium falls firmly in the latter category, but nobody told the Minerals Council of Australia, which recently launched perhaps the most misconceived social media promotional campaign in history, a “pro-uranium” initiative asking people to talk about how great uranium is using the hashtag #untappedpotential, cheerily ignoring its association with nuclear weapons and meltdowns.

They tapped into something, all right: the social media campaign triggered an outpouring of criticism of uranium, nuclear technology and the MCA. One representative tweet noted: “#untappedpotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps.” Another snarked: “We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power.”

One Twitter user noted the awkward timing of the campaign: “A week away from the #Chernobyl 30-year anniversary and Minerals Council begins propaganda trip on the #untappedpotential of uranium. Huh?!”

Industry organizations in Australia seem to have all kinds of bad ideas for social media. Last year it was a group representing professional taxi drivers, which also should have known better. The Victorian Taxi Organization, representing cabbies in the territory that includes Melbourne, launched a Twitter campaign called #YourTaxis asking customers to share their positive experiences with taxis for a chance to win a year’s free rides.

The response included anecdotes that VTO was not looking for. Some representative tweets touched on homophobia; sexual assault and harassment; traffic accidents with the meter left running; a pregnant woman who threw up, was extorted and then left by the side of the highway; a driver who fell asleep at the wheel; and a driver colluding with burglars.

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