Groupalia’s terrible Twitter joke on the Italian earthquake

One more example of ineffective and negative use of Twitter for brand image and reputation.

Our great and always up-to-date Francesco gives us a lesson on how to make a civil use of Twitter, highlighting the capability of this tool to manage particularly serious events, such as the earthquake that recently hit Italy, and concludes his article by citing a tweet by Groupalia.

GroupaliaIT: fear of the #earthquake? let's just pack it all in and run off to #Santodomingo

Twitterers had an immediate reaction, a righteous indignation in regards to the tweet above, posted by the Community Manager at Groupalia.

Carlo Pasqualicchio: @GroupaliaIT What is that? I can't believe what I'm reading! There's nothing to joke around! #delusionPino Ceniccola: @GroupaliaIT Shame on you!Simone Cinelli: @GroupaliaIT I don't think that's the right way to use these hashtags, especially in this occasionDert: @GroupaliaIT you should not have botheredPaul B @GroupaliaIT: well, as if earthquakes didn't happen over there! #mahMorgan: I really hope there is a community manager position available at Groupalia from now on

Groupalia swiflty deleted the tweet and quickly replied with another tweet announcing the availability of the company at helping the population hit by the earthquake.

GroupaliaIT: #earthquake, in order to clarify the misunderstanding related to the previous tweet, #Groupalia will donate 1 euro to the Italian Red Cross for every #deal sold today.

Again the same story. We already approached this topic and we keep wondering the reasons for this inappropriate use, which originated a tasteless joke around such a serious problem -one among many- that has recently shocked Italy. In a face to face conversation the person who published that tweet would have never said something like that for respect. Well, at least we hope so.

An update is missing here, as there is still someone who doesn’t know how to identify the strategic role of social media (many other similar cases happened not only in Italy but all over the world, and this is certainly something the CM of a big company such as Groupalia should be aware of). And this is why Twitter is still seen as an umpteenth window display, another ‘tube’ where to try to sell services and products regardless of the circumstances. In this way, the tool is transformed into a negative weapon that, as managers at  Groupalia must be thinking, has to be shut down as soon as possible, since it doesn’t protect the brand value, it becomes a threat to the brand reputation and it requires money as well, if considering each euro promised for every deal sold.

To conclude, if social networks are used in this terms (and other cases don’t let us doubt), it is then quite hard to imagine that their importance will be ever recognised by decision makers at a managerial level, hence, investment in digital marketing will rarely increse, at least in Italy.

UPDATE: official apologises by Andrea Gualtieri, Country Manager at Groupitalia

Through the words written by Mr Gualdieri, Groupalia apologises for what has happened. Here are the apologies:

“I am really concerned about what happened, and I feel sorry for having offended people hit by the disaster. It was an irresponsible act motivated by superficiality and inexperience. The disaster that hit the population in the region of Emilia Romagna must not be exploited and it deserve all the respect. Again, I want to apologise and express all my solidarity to those populations hit by the earthquake. This is why Groupalia has decided to give donations to the Italian Red Cross for helping people accidentally involved in the disaster. Moreover, we will promote a supportive deal for anyone who wants to help and give a donation.”