JP Morgan Pulls the Plug on Campaign After Hashtag Hijack

We all know social media is a powerful tool companies use to engage consumers, but each campaign has the potential to do more harm than good. JP Morgan is the latest victim of a “Twitter hijack” after the company attempted to host a hashtag-driven conversation on the social media platform.

Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg and many others have already reported on JP Morgan’s effort that went awry after a failed attempt to positively engage consumers with an interactive question and answer session on Twitter. The company tweeted several posts promoting the live Q&A that was set to take place today, encouraging users to ask a leading JP Morgan executive questions about career advice using the hashtag #AskJPM.

Today, we should be getting golden advice from this banking giant, but it is hush-hush. Why?


Users took the company’s offering as an opportunity to criticize JP Morgan and turn the big idea south. The hashtag was quickly hijacked and rather than career advice questions, negative posts ensued. A similar situation occurred early last year when McDonalds encouraged users to use #McDStories along with heartwarming/feel-good stories about the brand. The result was tweets from activists and others about how McDonalds’ food causes food poisoning. These situations show that although a company’s intentions are good, activists will jump at the chance to tell a company how they really feel.

When JP Morgan realized its idea wouldn’t create positive engagement and cancelled the Q&A, company spokesperson Brian Marchiony said, “Bad idea! Back to the drawing board.”

It’s unclear what was discussed behind closed doors to cause the company to pull the plug or engage in the Q&A in the first place, which is now a matter of debate in the PR world. Perhaps “warm and fuzzy” was just too out of character to be accepted at face value. What could they have done to make it better?

The company could have sifted through the snarky posts to at least address the (few) posts that actually posed legit questions to show consumers they are open to feedback and want to provide meaningful assistance. However, JP Morgan disengaged in the process by cancelling. With a little more planning and honest assessment of the potential environment, JP Morgan could have found a way to turn lemons into lemonade. Moving forward, JP Morgan can work to limit the fallout by not giving up so easily. There were, in fact, those who genuinely took them at their word.

Linda, for one, is still waiting for some words of wisdom:

JP Morgan Social Media Crisis PR


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