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Now this is how you use a corporate blog! Chrysler does it right after Twitter F-bomb

Corporate blogs serve many purposes and one of the most important can be the “unfiltered voice,” provided by having a full page to work with to tell your story as opposed to having to craft a “statement,” that you hope will be used by the media when referring to your particular situation.

In 2008, I wrote about how eBay used their corporate blog very well to squelch rumors of changes to their PayPal service. In my social media classes I’ve also used GM as an example of using a blog to respond to media coverage as they did to the NY Times on several occasions.

Yesterday, there was a kerfuffle around tweet that came through the official Chrysler account:

image from Jalopnik.com

Shortly thereafter, Chrysler posted the following to their blog:

This wasn’t perfect, but it was fast, it acknowledged the issue and said they have put processes in place so it doesn’t happen again.  That probably could have been enough.  However, Chrysler today made a longer post with more detail and why this was more serious to them than a misplaced curse word.  This post was attributed to Ed Garsten, the head of electronic communications at Chrysler.

There is a lot that is right here, for example, Chrysler:

  • Acknowledged the comments made on their previous post and on other sites;
  • Tied their actions in this matter in to their larger marketing and corporate goals; and
  • Included the name of the person at Chrysler making the post so it wasn’t a faceless corporate voice.

I meant to write this post last night but I’m glad I didn’t then as the whole story hadn’t yet been told, and it may not yet all be told, but there’s more to learn today about how a company can respond using social media than we saw yesterday.  Thanks to David Armano for pointing me to Chrysler’s follow-up post with his Tweet.  Also, last night when I tweeted about this, I received a response from someone I greatly respect questioning whether this should have been a fireable offense.  At the time, I would have been inclined to say no, and I’m still not sure they should have been fired, but with after reading Chrysler’s thoughts I can understand the thinking a whole lot better.

Join The Conversation

  • Mar 22 Posted 6 years ago Yael K. Miller (not verified)

    What "appropiate steps to ensure that this does not happen again" can there be to stop someone going off script?

  • Mar 15 Posted 6 years ago Anonymous (not verified)

     While there are lessons to be learned by both the agency and Chrysler in this situation.  I would be a fool to take everything posted in a press release or a blog as fact or truth.  These communications are carefully crafted to leave the reader with a specific impression. While Chrysler honorably has taken the position that it wants to play a key role in bringing back the city of Detroit then why may I ask did Chrysler just fire an agency that employed around 17 individuals in the Detroit Area? As if the state needed more people filing for unemployment. Yes, do the research and you will find that the agency is headquartered in VA however they have a satellite office in Southfield, MI.  Chrysler failed to mentioned that in their blog or press release?  Additionally, it has been announced that the employee who made the Fbomb mistake lives and formely worked in Detroit as well. Food for thought when reading corporate communications by a company that has so much to lose. As you put it Josh, we may never know what really happened but there is definitely holes in their story.


  • Geri Stengel's picture
    Mar 12 Posted 6 years ago Geri Stengel


    Lots of lessons here, including the importance of having policies and procedures in place … and defining what is a firable offense. Of course, an offense by the head of electronic communication calls into questions his judgment and whether he is qualified for a job in which he should be aware of both the company’s values and the longevity of hitting “send.”



  • Mar 12 Posted 6 years ago Shankar (not verified)

    Thanks you  Ksenia!  This is key information which sheds a new light on the whole matter - IF the original poster was not, in fact, in detroit this SUGGESTS a malicious intent rather than a stupid mistake.  I still feel that Chrystler could have responded with more wit and imagination - making Detroit the place where people care about quality of driving as well as quality of build for example, setting up a Detroit Courteous Drivers Club with bumper stickers and donating to accident victims everytime someone phones in points for someone's good driving, there's no such thing as bad publicity but you have to respond well!!!

  • JoshMorgan's picture
    Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago JoshMorgan

    I don't believe Chrysler required their agency to fire the employee. I may be mistaken but I haven't read that anywhere.


    In regards to Chrysler firing their agency, we'll never know the whole story. Was this the last of many mistakes? Were there policies in place that weren't followed?

  • Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago Ksenia Coffman (not verified)

    NMS is based out of VA - so not a local company, and I assume the fired employee was not local to Detroit either.

    If NMS fired the person, it's their choise. Chrysler's choice was to fire NMS, and they did - good for them. Having an obsenity tweeted from your account is not something I would tolerate either.

    #KeepTwitterPG :-)

  • DanielSchiller1's picture
    Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago DanielSchiller1

    Tweets are ephemeral, brands much less so. Still seems a wee bit hyper reactive to can someone for a tweet. Maybe this wasn't the first. Who knows. Seems like a good opp for someone at Chrysler or the AOR to blog about safe driving. Perhaps make a little exercise in thought leadership out of the misshap. I'd rather take the thought leadership route than have Chrysler protect me from so-called profanities. I may be biased though as an official of this community. Thanks for a good debate @joshdmorg!

  • Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago Indra Gardiner (not verified)


    While I agree with you that the immediacy and directness of the two responses are appropriate uses of a blog and social media channels for responding to a potential online problem, requiring the agency to fire the individual who made the mistake and then turning around and firing the agency (which they did later that same day) is just lousy. You can read the story here - http://adage.com/article/digital/chrysler-splits-media-strategies-f-bomb-tweet/149335/

    What if the guy that made the mistake was a terrific AE? What if he has a family? Did he need to lose his job with an agency that wasn't going to keep the account anyway? A little too much retribution for one stupid tweet post IMO.

  • ginidietrich's picture
    Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago ginidietrich

    I've been following this story pretty closely and I appreciate the additional information you've provided from the perspective of Chrysler. I own an agency and I've had clients ask me to remove people from their account, but I've never had anyone ask me to fire an employee. That was my initial shock - why would they fire the person?! Now I see they didn't ask it - it was an act in good faith from NMS.

    So, why then, was NMS fired the next day? For a company that is giving back to Detroit, they just put a lot of people out of jobs.

  • JoshMorgan's picture
    Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago JoshMorgan

    Thank you to everyone reading this post here.  If you'd like to read the original post please visit my blog at www.donteattheshrimp. Also, if you pass on the link via twitter I would appreciate a CC @joshdmorg so I can thank you there.


    Have a great weekend.

  • Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago Coryndon Luxmoore (not verified)

    The followup was pretty good but the initial post was a dismal failure.

    Detroit has suffered massive job losses and to "fire" the person for what was an easy error is not in line with the campaign to rebuild Detroit. It's response comes across as in the heat of the moment as the original mistaken tweet. Simply reenforcing the idea of a faceless uncaring bureaucracy overreacting and crushing a single person for a simple mistake and for a sentiment, while crude, all their customers can relate with.

  • KeithPaul's picture
    Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago KeithPaul

    I disagree.

    Chrysler should have used this episode to bring folks into a discussion of why people might have the perception of bad driving. Is it training? Drivers? Road conditions? Infrastructure? That would have built more goodwill for the company, the city of Detroit, existing customer and potential customers, perhaps extending into R&D opportunities or other awareness factors.

    I do compliment Chrysler on seemingly quick action, but it was perhaps a bit heavy-handed and reactionary.

    Chrysler missed a huge opportunity to engage positively with the public, especially for such an embattled brand.

  • Mar 11 Posted 6 years ago Joseph Stucker (not verified)

    Great post, and I'm glad to see a company doing well with their social media in light of an errant mistake. Its interesting to look at both sides of the issue, how the employee can lose their job for one inappropriate tweet, which as Chrysler seemed to infer was meant for their personal account and not the Chrysler branded account, and at Chrysler's side of the issue as they try to build the brand not only of their product but of their city. While I have to side with Chrysler that it is important to avoid a setback, it is also something to think about that it was a third party social media agency that was responsible for this and Chrysler took full responsibility. Kudos to them.

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