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Social Media Fail: MasterCard

You might remember MasterCard's 'Priceless' campaign, which revolved around the things money can't buy.

Earlier this year MasterCard had its own priceless moment, but not the sort it was necessarily after. 

Priceless PR disaster

Ahead of the 2014 Brit Awards (the UK's version of the Grammy's) House PR was engaged by awards sponsor MasterCard UK to drum up coverage for the event.

House PR had the bright idea of promising journalists press accreditation in exchange for publishing pre-scripted tweets with the hashtag #PricelessSurprises.

However things quickly went awry when Telegraph journalist Tim Walker leaked an email outlining House PR's demands.

Ouch

Pretty soon MasterCard was facing a very unpleasant #PricelessSurprise of its own.

The hashtag started trending, with a flurry of mainly negative tweets. Some of these included:

“Good press coverage is hard to bribe. For everything else there's Mastercard. #PricelessSurprises”.

“#PricelessSurprises sounds like something sarcastic you'd say when your cat leaves a freshly-killed mouse on your pillow”.

By lunchtime that day House PR had contacted Walker, advising him he could attend – no strings (or hashtags) attached.

Damage control

However the damage was done, both to House PR and MasterCard UK.

The lesson for the rest of us: use a bit of common sense when dealing with the press. In the digital age there is such a thing as bad publicity. 

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