The car company was in for a rude shock when it received a lot of negative reviews for the look of its new Crosstour in response to the promotional pictures posted. A bevy of negative comments were suddenly greeted by a positive comment from a Honda product manager, whose identity remained unrevealed. It was a matter of seconds before Facebook followers discovered his identity and cried foul.
The company had a taste of fame for the wrong reasons in 2010 when 2,50,000 million viewed a video created by GreenPeace which equated eating a bar of Kitkat to killing a monkey. Ranting against Nestlé's policies for buying palm oil, Greenpeace accused it of supporting deforestation and forcing monkeys out of their natural habitat, thus causing their extinction. Nestlé's removal of the video angered social activists further. In its defence, the company stated that the video violated their trademark, but the damage was done. There was a flurry of negative comments on their Facebook page. An inappropriate response from Nestle and removal of damaging comments from their Facebook page again infuriated consumers and activists alike. The much delayed response from the company to use only sustainable palm oil was too late to save the day.
The fast food brand may be the best example of social media gone wrong. A video of rats running all over their New York Branch was posted on YouTube, and spread like wildfire, leading to a fall in sales and stock value, due to consumer concern on its hygiene standards.
The automobile giant got a fair taste of the disastrous effects of social media via its Facebook page when it asked Facebook users to list what they would like to see the company doing in 2012, in a bid to take consumer engagement to the next level. What followed was a critique of the company and accusations of it being the least environment-friendly car manufacturer. Fuel was added to the fire when the company went ahead and deleted the offensive comments. Greenpeace had also produced a report named the 'Dark Side of Volkswagen in June 2011', citing VW as one of the driving forces lobbying against the introduction of vehicle efficiency standards. The deletion of negative comments made VW look like a villain. The much publicized Think Blue initiative in 2012 was Volkswagen's attempt to pacify consumers and win back its reputation.