Anybody in the social-media business ought to be aware of this story.
Over the weekend, Raleigh, N.C. agency Valor Media posted a tweet for then client Z-Burger, a small southeastern chain of burger joints that equated eating burgers at McDonald’s with an ISIS execution of an American that occurred in 2014.
You can’t make this stuff up.
The tweet was actually posted with a picture of James Foley, the American journalist who was captured by ISIS in 2012 and beheaded by the terrorist group two years later.
According to The Washingtonian, the tweet crafted by Valor for Z-Burger read: “When you say you want a burger and someone says okay let’s hit McDonalds.”
The tweet was accompanied by a picture of Foley and underneath his image was the message “You disgrace me.”
I mean, who doesn’t weep when they think about James Foley and what happened to him?
Well, apparently the ignorant folks at Valor Media.
According to a report in the Washington Post, Z-Burger owner Peter Tabibian was made aware of the post about an hour after it went up last Saturday. No one at his company approved it beforehand. He told WaPo he nearly fell off his chair when he saw it and immediately ordered Valor to take the tweet down.
So there’s a lesson right there. If a client sees something drastically wrong on their Twitter feed, they shouldn’t have to call anyone. They should be able to immediately go into the feed and correct the situation — delete the tweet, edit it, whatever.
Still, you wonder how the agency came up with this incredibly lame, hurtful tweet in the first place. Valor didn’t reply to a query for comment.
A stream of apologies has flowed from both Z-Burger and Valor since the incident was reported. Not inappropriately, Z-Burger blamed Valor.
Valor owner Michael Valor posted apologies in various forms. It was a mistake and a learning experience. Valor is a bit full of himself. He’s only 23 and had the hubris to post this tweet shortly after the incident came to light: “Valor Media will be the #1 media/advertising company in the country. This is just another learning experience on the road to our destination!!”
So you’ve just desecrated the memory of an American journalist, slain in the most horrible fashion and your response is to talk about how your company is going to be No. 1?
Thank you for clarifying, Mr. Valor. Clearly you’re an idiot, and with any luck, all of your clients are bailing. You don’t deserve to be in this business. At least not until you grow up. Z-Burger fired the company earlier this week.
One adult responding to Valor’s tweet stated: “Jim Foley’s life and death was much more than 'another learning experience' for anyone. You need to step back from this and try to obtain some perspective.”
Valor has posted three videos on the agency’s Twitter feed apologizing and trying to explain what happened. The latter part is still unclear. An art director “who’s a good person,” according to Valor, grabbed the photo and used it for the tweet.
How does an art director do that without knowing the provenance of the photo being used? Answer: Doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Well, maybe this is a learning experience -- for the entire social media-marketing industry.