Coca-Cola has been forced to pull a massive social media campaign after it was inadvertently forced to send out passages from Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ on Twitter.
The soft drinks company wanted social media users to tag ‘negative’ tweets #MakeItHappy - so it could then automatically edit those words into cute pictures made of ASCII code, and send them back.
The idea was to make the internet a happier, more positive place.
This may have been overly optimistic on Coke's part. Because inevitably users started abusing this system, to the point where someone had the Coke account turn a white supremacy slogan (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children”) into a cartoon dog.
That’s when the news website Gawker decided to more obviously point out the flaw in Coke's plan to fill the world with relentless, automatically generated saccharine sentiment.
To that end it created a new account - @MeinCoke - and began sending out sections of the German dictator’s pre-war screed, just to see if Coke would take the bait. And so it did - sending back sections of Mein Kampf in different, ostensibly cute forms.
Examples of the Tweets are collected for posterity's sake over at Gawker.
Confronted with this snag in its plan, Coke decided to cut its losses, delete the tweets - and pull the whole campaign.
It said in a statement to AdWeek:
"The #MakeItHappy message is simple: The Internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It's unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn't. Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign."
Gawker’s Max Read responded by writing that it was “disappointed to learn that the corporation does not have the strength of its own white nationalist convictions. Happiness has been destroyed, for now”.