The Golf Channel’s Martin Luther King Newsjacking

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on August 28, 2013 – 12:38 PM

Today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which is being marked by Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter (among others) at the Lincoln Memorial today.

In many communities across the United States, today is a day to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, discuss the state of race relations, and learn from his heroic example.

Unless, of course, you’re the Golf Channel, which decided to use Dr. King’s legacy to get its 218,000 Twitter followers to talk about….golf.

Golf Channel

That tweet certainly isn’t going to help golf’s reputation as a sport for rich white guys.

It minimizes the significance of today’s anniversary and represents the lowest form of newsjacking. Worse, their hashtag, #DreamDay, is being used by people who want to discuss the Martin Luther King anniversary, not be subjected to a meme created by an overambitious sports marketer.

Twitter responded to the Golf Channel’s tweet quickly, with some people suggesting that the Golf Channel take a mulligan for this tweet. (If only it were that easy for them.)

Golf Channel MLK Tweets

The Golf Channel quickly deleted its tweet, but hasn’t acknowledged or apologized for it as of this writing.

Brands, this really is pretty easy. Don’t tweet about scones after the Boston Marathon bombing, don’t sell your new spring clothing line with an international uprising as your hook, and don’t do tasteless marketing on important historical anniversaries.


Update 1: August 28, 2013, 2:40 P.M.

The Golf Channel apologized for its earlier tweet.

I’d like to hear more about what went wrong and the procedures the Golf Channel will put in place to make sure they don’t commit another social media gaffe. Also, a “we’re sorry” wouldn’t hurt.


Update 2: August 28, 2013, 5:00 P.M.

I guess Herr Foods didn’t get the memo.


Don’t miss a thing! Click here to instantly join our mailing list and receive our 21 most essential media training tips.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments (2)

  1. By (Most) Brands Avoid PR Fails on MLK ‘Dream Day’ - PRNewser:

    […] to the bad: The Golf Channel wasn’t the only brand to make the self-serving Twitter mistake. This one comes with a big hat tip to Mr. Media Training (follow him on Twitter): Today is the 50th anniversary of […]

  2. By Lindsay Olson » Newsjacking – the Good, the Bad & the Ugly:

    […] isn’t a recommended tactic, but Bertolli pasta pulls it off.Unfortunately, the Golf Channel doesn’t pull it off.When it comes to commemoration, I love this commemorative post by Devils Tower National monument on […]

Leave a Comment

(will not be published)