Oct 29, 2020 in Analysis

A Canadian Company Social Media Failure





Following your request for the in-depth analysis of the #SEAofBLUE case in 2013, where your company suffered a huge image mishap as a result of a blogger coining a hashtag as a form of criticizing the entire team. What followed was unprecedented tarnishing of the team image due to the hate speech, and foul language which all appeared on the teams website. Moreover, many hate messages that were directed to the players and the coaching staff directly affected their confidence. In respect of damage that the team suffered, this report is also geared towards collecting all of the relevant information on the case with the aim of identifying the contributing factors that led to the social media failure. Moreover, it is of interest to many people to identify the factors that led to the occurrence of failure and optimally how the company handled the situation and undertaking, aimed at making an informed recommendation.


It is my hope that the report will be informative enough to help the team cope better with a similar situation and be able to utilize the platform of social media better, since it remains the most viable and cost effect way of marketing. Moreover, it is of significant importance to point out that due diligence was applied in the line of ensuring that the report represented a pictorial coverage of the event. This is in the appreciation of the fact that the company analysis should be based on the facts to ensure that the resultant action rests on an informed platform. However, input and recommendation on the current report are most welcome.

Executive Summary

Social media has grown to be one of the most effective tools of marketing that is not only effective but also very affordable. However, the same platforms have left many companies brands prone to malicious damages since any person subscribed to a companys website can post content that might be in conflict with morals of the company customers. It is, therefore, of paramount importance to ensure that due diligence is applied while utilizing the services of these platforms to ensure that the interest of the companys team at hand is safeguarded. In the appreciation of demands and expectation, while exploiting the tool of social media as a tool of marketing, this report is aimed at analyzing the social media failure that was suffered by The Maple Leafs in the year 2013. The report starts with an introduction discussing the crucial fact about social media marketing. This is followed by a keen illustration of the purpose of study which is clearly indicated, followed by the scope of study where the boundary of the study is clearly defined. Referenced utilized are then outlined as an intentional action of demonstration of studys credibility. Findings of the case are then outlined paying a tribute to the facts of the case followed by a keen discussion of the findings. An informed judgment is then passed on whether the team recovered from the failure and afterward the teams response to the incidence is weighed to pass a judgment of its relevance. The primary lessons from the case at hand are then outlined to show what went well or wrong in an attempt of identifying the needed changes. Recommendation forms the next phase, where the identified realignments are outlined, and the corresponding rationale is given. Over and above, the report ends with a conclusion, where all of the major reports highlights are captured.


In the current business world, the level of competition experienced by competitive players in the market in unprecedented levels is a phenomenon that has seen companies engage in intensive marketing undertakings. Marketing is a tool that companies use to spread the information on their existence and their product. Moreover, it is through this tool that companies can attract more customers besides ensuring that they hold on their current ones. It is, therefore, of high importance that a company precisely defines the message that it wants to spread to their market segment because it is this information that enhances their productivity within the predetermined market. The most attractive the information is, the better placed the concerned company will be within the market. On the contrary, if the message channeled into the market is irrelevant, or image threatening, the company at hand will suffer not only through the loss of potential and current customers but also the good image in the market.

It is, therefore, of paramount importance for any company engaging in any form of marketing to ensure that a message, a channel, and an intention of marketing is attained a phenomenon that can only be attained if the advertising company has control over the content delivered to the market. When a company has control over the content delivered in the market, it becomes easier to predict the impact and the outcome of undertaking, thus minimizing the element of surprise. The intention of this paper is to bring forth crucial information on the social media failure suffered by The Maple Leafs as a mean of enhancing the companys readiness of utilizing and managing social media marketing besides empowering the management on ways of utilizing online platform.

Purpose of the Study

Social media is slowly becoming the tool of choice for many companies due to its great success when it comes to the reach.


Figure 1.

Moreover, with social media, the marketing team can get direct responses from customers through different social media platforms. Social media also allows the company at hand to directly target various market segments. Over and above, it is also of great importance to many companies that social media present a platform of great potential that demands very little in terms of costs. It is these reasons that The Maple Leafs had an assumption that a company will continue utilizing the platform as means of marketing its brand. As a result, the purpose of the study is to understand factors that lead to the occurrence of the image tarnishing hashtag incidence suffered by The Maple Leafs in 2013.

Scope of the Study

The study is centered on evaluating the following parameters:

Analyzing the social media failure suffered by The Maple Leafs in 2013

Discoveries on the variables that were at play during the incidence

The companys response to the incidence

Analyzing whether the company recovered from the incidence

Sources and Methods

The primary sources utilized in the study were the secondary sources, particularly the insights brought about by CBC News. Moreover, there was the utilization of books covering the social media as a viable marketing tool to understand the dos and donts when it comes to

social media marketing. The utilized method is a deduction process, aimed at analyzing the context of The Maple Leafs incidence and the ideal standards of social media marketing.

Findings of the Case at Hand


The social media failure, as indicated earlier, took place in 2013 where a hashtag from your company aimed at interacting with the team followed heavily backfired and became an avenue of hatred. After a blogger changed the intention of hashtag #SeaOfBlue from a tool of constructive engagement to an instrument of foul language and disrespectful messages all of which found their way to the companys website. At first, the team was getting the expected feedback, where followers were uploading their picture, while holding or wearing the teams merchandise. However, after the team lost to Florida Panthers, all hell broke loose. The former hashtag that was generating positive feedback about the team drastically changed to perform the purpose of image destruction.

Of importance to the case at hand was that after the hijacking of a hashtag, the social media team did not play any role, leading to some of those heavily involved in degrading the websites status, arguing that they went to bed. This left the followers posting obscene messages on the site, besides making competition on who would get his hashtag on top of the teams platform. As a result, in the end, very bad message got its way to the top and heavily undermined the teams image. The actions taken later by the team website managers were an apology that did little to remedy the problem that appeared over the night.

Discussion of the Findings

It is clear that the intention of the hashtag was well placed and in line of creating a healthy engagement between the team and its followers. Moreover, the primary goal of hashtag was met before the game, whereby the followers were positively engaging with the team and other followers. However, there is a clear failure of the social media team of The Maple Leafs, whereby they fell short of taken proactive measures in appreciation to the realities on the ground. The hashtag was formulated to bring out good memories of the team, and this is signified through uploads that were sent by the followers. However, with the team beaten by the Florida Panthers, the only memory the fans were experiencing was pure anger. This is a phenomenon that the social media marketing team needed to have recognized and come up with another hashtag that could have seemed to appreciate the prevailing feeling among the fans.

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With The Maple Leafs having a huge amount of followers, the social media team could have played a more proactive role of consoling the fan a phenomenon that could have rendered efforts of the blogger fruitless. With the social team remaining quite even after seeing how their web page was being used, contrary to the standard and expectations of the team, the image of the team was heavily ruined. Moreover, it is the social media team silence that opened the avenue for evil minded followers to post insults to the players and coaching staff a phenomenon that directly or indirectly demoralized players. It is, therefore, clear that the social media team did not play their role in safeguarding the teams image and the welfare of the team.

Judgement on the Recovery of the Team from the Social Media Failure

When it comes to social media activities, success or failure has a lasting mark that can never be forgotten due to the element of reference. With just a google search on the incidence information is easily available and this is a clear indication of how sensitive and cautious companies and teams need to observe when engaging in social media. Moreover, with the information being easily available, the image of the team will always be at risk of constant jeopardy from an incidence that happened three years ago. In appreciating these variables at play when engaging in social media, it is valid to argue that the team can never be judged to have fully recovered from the moment of failure. Moreover, there is the need to appreciate that teams heavily depend on the image in the public, as it forms the basis for which a team secure endorsements and attracts the public to buy its merchandise. With the moment of social media failure touching and continue touching the heart of team welfare, the team cannot be judged to have fully recovered from the incidence.

Teams Response to the Incidence

With the social media team taking a passive role, while the image of the team was being tarnished, it is clear that the response was ill-informed. Keeping quite did little to provide a sense of soberness in the discussion within the teams website. Moreover, allowing the behavior to continue over and over might have the potential to send the wrong signal to neutral fans and followers. They could have perceived that the social media guys were supporting the alterations, thus choosing to keep quite a phenomenon that got the followers charged into competing on who could top the teams website. It was only afterward that they came and apologized, but the damage to the teams brand was long done (Bowman, 2013). Clearly, the response was ill-informed, and the team needed to have part of the discussion to ensure that the teams culture and ideals were present, sending the right signal to the fans and the public at large. This would have helped to minimize the damage, as providing a positive vibe could have attracted similar minded people into posting positive comments, and this could have gone far into protecting the teams brand and its ideals.

Primary Lessons

The case at hand clearly shows that the social media agents were at fault for the damage suffered by the teams image. This is because of their lack of utilization of possible intervention that could have enabled them to counter the negative energy channeled into the website. Besides, the case clearly points out that the team was not in touch with the prevailing feelings of fans and reasons they found their hashtag in conflict with the emotions of losing to Florida Panthers. This was a huge failure on the side of social media team, since the effectiveness of social media platform is highly dependent on the relevance of the availed information. In line of luring more people into following the team and optimally becoming fans, another relevant hashtag could have been updated to ensure that defeat of the team resonated in the website. A comforting hashtag needed to have been the new updates, and this could have done a lot in consoling the fans. Over and above, the general take on the case is that the only way the teams brand was put into jeopardy was due to the recklessness of social media team and their ill-informed decision of taking a passive role, while the hate speech was dominating the timeline of teams website.


The huge influx of people are now engaging in social media platforms, and this is the reason that almost all companies and teams are heavily involved in various platforms.


Figure 2.

Similarly, in the same line of thought, it is the advice at hand for your team to continue utilizing services of various platforms, as this remains one of the best ways of engaging with different fans around the world. Moreover, it is through utilizing these platforms that the team will be able to get a quick response from fans and, thus, enable the team to come up with the needed realignments on time.


Figure 3.

However, due to the incidence of 2013, the social media team needed to be more proactive in terms of content posted on the various platforms. One of the greatest exploiting the social media platform is through posting relevant and up to date content. This enables the concerned company/team to play an active role regarding the current demands or emotions. There is, therefore, the absolute need for the current social media team to be highly conversant with the latest trends to ensure that content posted does not trigger unwanted feedback.

There is also the need to have a well-coordinated undertaking between the office agents and the field agent. The intention is coming up with the right content at the right time, thus ensuring that what is posted on the different platforms is sensitive to the prevailing emotions. Moreover, having posts that are appreciative to the current emotions will be helpful in presenting the team as one of us - a phenomenon that will be useful in getting the relevant feedback, some of which might be helpful in promoting the teams brand. Over and above, there is also the need to have a full-time supervision team who will be ensuring that the social media team is always active on the websites, thus ensuring the teams take on a matter being discussed is clear and felt by active participants. More resources are, therefore, needed to ensure that the pointed changes in the social media team are not only realized but also sustained over the time, thus safeguarding the team from a reoccurrence of a similar mishap.


It is evident that social media can play a huge role in promoting a brand but, at the same time, can provide an avenue, whereby a brand can be tarnished in a matter of moment. Through the case at hand, it is clear that any failure in social media has a lasting impact, some of which can lead to poor performance of brand within a market. Moreover, it is evident that while engaging in social media as marketing tool, content is critical to the feedback that one gets. It is also apparent that having the right content at the wrong time can bring about loopholes that might be utilized towards tarnishing your brand. With the high level of population engaging in the social media platforms, this avenue remains one of the best tools to utilize if the target at hand is improved to reach minimal cost. Over and above, it is evident that once you are engaged in any undertaking in the social media, being proactive is the only way of ensuring that you intended goal is realized through constantly making sure that the companys standard and ideals at hand are well communicated.



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