A Twitter campaign by sporting goods manufacturer Adidas was hijacked in the UK by trolls who used it to spread anti-Semitic remarks. The campaign was subsequently disabled. "Because a small minority misused the ad campaign to make offensive statements, we immediately shut down its function". A Twitter team will investigate the matter," citing the HuffPost UK a spokesman for Adidas.
"Innocent Hitler" on Arsenal jersey
Called "#DareToCreate," the campaign was meant to promote new jerseys for British football club FC Arsenal. On Twitter, fans were able to ask Adidas for a picture showing their username on the new jersey. In a tweet, the user is greeted with the words "This is your home. Welcome to the team." According to Adidas, the campaign was meant to please avid Arsenal fans.
However, there appeared to be no filter on what words and statements appeared in the usernames. Some users hijacked the campaign, circulating images of Arsenal jerseys with anti-Semitic and racist statements on them. One jersey, for example, suggested that "Hitler was innocent". These images quickly became widely circulated on Twitter.
Adidas not prepared for trolls
Adidas earned criticism and ridicule on social media for its lack of control over its own campaign. One Twitter user wrote: "Someone should get out of bed and do some damage control." Another user said, "Yes, social media is great and fun, but it's still a job that takes skill. And you need to be prepared for trolls, which Adidas clearly isn't." Arsenal FC stressed in a statement that statements like those made by the Twitter trolls have no place in football. Diversity is important to Arsenal, it said, and everyone involved with the club should experience the same sense of belonging. (pte)