LONDON - Furnishings retailer Habitat has blamed an "overenthusiastic intern" for its attempt to use the election protests in Iran as a promotional vehicle.
Yesterday, Habitat apologised for its promotional messages on Twitter, which also tried to ride on the back of interest in the launch of the latest Apple iPhone.
Irrelevant hashtags featured in the messages included '#mousavi', referring to an Iranian presidential candidate, and '#iphone'.
The promotion was designed to sign people up to its database with the chance to win a £1,000 gift card.
According to a Sky News Habitat's communications team said they had not authorised the messages, but they have confirmed they were not hacked.
"The hashtags were uploaded without Habitat's authorisation by an overenthusiastic intern who did not fully understand the ramifications of his actions. He is no longer associated with Habitat," a spokesman said.
Twitter users accused Habitat of spamming and its mistake was heavily retweeted on the micro blogging service. It was being touted as a case study example of what marketers should not do on Twitter.
The offending tweets have since been removed and Habitat promised to "do better for the Twitter community".
Blogs on Brand Republic:
- Habitat's Twitter Fail in this blog post.
- Social media and the Iranian election
- Twitter wars: Israel, Iran and conspiracy theories
- Twitter proves major boon for media websites.
- MySpace goes into rapid retreat/embraces its future.
- Habitat's moment of Twitter madness.
- Who's making money out of Twitter.
- Twitter getting into the (#spymaster free) groove.
- Ten ways that Twitter will change the way we live.