AdAge.com is reporting that New Media Strategies of Arlington, VA will not have its contract renewed – a contract that was just landed by the company in February 2010 – because an employee posted on Twitter: "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f***ing drive." The asterisks were not used in the original tweet.
Peter Snyder, CEO of NMS, had this to say on the company's website: "New Media Strategies regrets this unfortunate incident. It certainly doesn’t accurately reflect the overall high-quality work we have produced for Chrysler. We respect their decision and will work with them to ensure an effective transition of this business going forward."
Mediabistro.com offered up this report about the original tweet: "According to the Detroit Free Press, the offending tweet happened … when the NMS staffer tweeting from the @chryslerautos account was apparently having a pretty horrible commute to work."
A few hours after the F bomb tweet was posted, Chrysler had this response on the Chrysler media blog, "Chrysler Group and its brands do not tolerate inappropriate language or behavior, and apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this communication.Furthermore, the Company has set in place appropriate steps to ensure that this does not happen again."
Bu then Chrysler started to catch some flak for apparently having the poor schlub fired for mixing up a personal twitter account with the client account. Chrysler had this to say today, "[C]omments on various social media sites increasingly expressed either dismay that someone would lose their job over an online oops and that Chrysler was acting, as one poster put it, 'in a stiff, corporate way.' Some posters even asked why we didn’t make light of an accidental “f-bomb.”
Ed Garsten, head of electronic communications for Chrysler, continued, "So why were we so sensitive? That commercial featuring the Chrysler 200, Eminem and the City of Detroit wasn’t just an act of salesmanship. This company is committed to promoting Detroit and its hard-working people. The reaction to that commercial, the catchphrase “imported from Detroit,” and the overall positive messages it sent has been volcanic."
Missing in all this, though, is the fact that the employee should not have been fired for using foul language in a Tweet. The problem is the tweet was posted while the employee was struck in traffic. We all know how the government feels about unsafe driving through its "Faces of Distracted Driving" campaign. Chrysler could have scored a lot of points by emphasizing it wanted the employee of NSM fired for that reason.
Instead, NSM is now out a major customer. Somewhere sits its former employee who regrets the road rage that crashed his career and Chrysler gets some unwanted attention from the F bomb. The winner in all of this may be the @chryslerautos Twitter account.