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May 06, 2012


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dan holden

Agree, it would have been cool if they hadn't automated it. Wrong to complain? Nah. Social is supposed to be about people interacting with each other, not with automated responses. If I wanted that I would call my bank.


Oh wow. Looks like their agency just discovered how to automate tweets. I think you under reacted. I would have made a video and got it ranked for Acura :) Classic Spam


You'd think a company like Acura would have a bit more of a clue than to spam people in such a public way. Maybe you should send them a copy of Seth's Permission Marketing. ;-)

David Meerman Scott

Dan - I know right? This COULD have been a really good program.

Jim - I have some decent Google juice with this blog. Why not Google "Acura Spam" and see what comes up?


Looks like Acura took a page right out of their dealer marketing playbook. Auto responses are KING in automotive retail outlets.

This isn't nearly as bad as the auto response I got today from Josh Harcus, Digital Strategiest at SayItSocial. Here is a photo. Pretty much explains it all. Is this the future of Twitter?



Bad example of social media practice. Good that you brought it up so we all can learn. And they still have not responded?


My team have done what should have been, interestingly at a Jazz festival, with a VIP area (although for a different client). It's not hard, you just need someone on the site taking part so they can comment on what is happening. The only challenge we had was ensuring tweets got approved - it was a client that was very new to the channel. So I'm guessing the agency did not think it was necessary or Accura would not pay for someone on the ground.

David Meerman Scott

DCAutoGeek - Autoresponses are so lame. I saw the tweets from Josh. Thanks for that example.

NicP - It seems this is a total autoresponder program. Nobody is manning Twitter now because it is a weekend (as if things don't happen on a weekend..). The people manning the physical event onsite (which must have cost hundreds of thousands if not millions) were obviously not authorized to use the Twitter feed. Silly all around.

Rachel - Exactly. They had one group of people at the live event. And another group of people dreaming up the Twitter stunt. Had they combined them like you, it could have been a great thing. But they fell back on the typical marketing playbook where the events people and the advertising people don't connect.

Remco Janssen

I fully agree with you, David. This is spam and companies who are persuing in such acivities should be legally prosecuted, the same way as when they encounter people with e-mail spam. When this occurs, I always click block & report spam on Twitter straight away. Did you?

David Meerman Scott

Hi Remco - I was going to "block & report spam" (which I normally do in cases like this) however I wanted to see if they responded to me so I chose not to. Then I decided to write this post.

Tony Faustino

David, you're not over-reacting at all. The fact that Acura has not responded to you on your Twitter feed AND the absence of a response from an Acura representative in this comment stream speaks volumes.

Acura doesn't get it. Mary Henige of GM and Scott Monty of Ford would have never have let something like this happen (in both organizing and integrating the tactics as well as in preparing and responding to you).

The fact that you've "called them out" and nobody's responding in real-time reinforces the spammer image.

David Meerman Scott

Tony - I suspect that they only "listen" during regular business hours. But we'll see.

Chris Carroll

I get a lot of "Automated Tweets" from hashtag posts I make. I just remember to block and report as spam every time I get one. I also make sure I look at the profile and see if there is a huge difference in the Follow/Following numbers.


My two cents. Might there be a bigger story here than just the run of the mill “big brand fails to treat social socially?” That story might be that balancing automation with proper engagement over social media is a pragmatically necessary but incredibly difficult feat. This also underscores what I believe is an amazingly infrequent discussion - to exercise the tactics in the ever evolving world and reality of today’s ‘new media’ there is an incredible amount of effort that must be put forth. Developing rich and meaningful content, being always on, staying vigilant in order to identify say opportunities to engage or ‘newsjack’, and injecting the appropriate personal and truly social element into the experience along the away. . . .it takes time, it takes people, it requires a skill set that is incredibly hard to find, it requires patience to accept that the entire effort is more like a marathon. All of this in the sprint culture from which we’ve evolved, and where the impression is king. And ultimately there is something to that, no? That the impression does indeed matter in both the short and long run? If this is even remotely true then inevitably most practitioners will seek out ways to automate their effort, and therein is the aforementioned bigger story. Given that the effort can be extreme how does an organization artfully automate while at the same time take responsibility to do so in the very context of the ‘social’ of social media?

David Meerman Scott

Chris - I get so many that I stopped blocking because it will take too much time!

Joel - You're right of course. What I keep thinking about in this case is that Acura spent a huge amount of money to sponsor JazzFest. Possibly as much as a million dollars. Had they spent just a tiny bit more, they could have brought a full-time social media person with them to New Orleans who could have done a killer job with this VIP invitation effort. And yes, it could have been a combination of automation together with humans. However most brands don't yet think that way.

Andy Strote

Yeah it's spam, yes they should know better, no they shouldn't be prosecuted, no it's not the end of the world. Chalk it up to a learning experience. The worst part of the story? It's that David missed Jazzfest!

David Meerman Scott

Andy - yes, that is the most disappointing aspect. Maybe in a pissy mood because of it.

Joseph Ratliff

Holy Integra Batman! :)

I cannot believe someone isn't "manning the desk" on Acura's Twitter account David.

I'm hoping that someone at Acura will catch this, and explain that it was a hacker or something. But I don't think it was.

Social media is NOT another email inbox, there is NO place for blast messaging IMO. That's why it's called "social" media, there is supposed to be a conversation going. Last time I checked, a conversation is a two-way thing...not an interruption then a one-way thing.

David Meerman Scott

Joseph - exactly. I'm still waiting for Acura to respond.


David, you're absolutely correct. I'm about to embark on a career as a freelance social media manager. I begin work with my first client on June 1. I decided to pursue this type of work precisely because I can't stand automated Twitter accounts and bots pretending to be people. I mean really, Twitter is a good social media platform but some marketers are giving it a very bad reputation with exactly the situation you describe took place in the name of Acura by their PR firm.

Please keep reporting where you see wrong in the Twitterverse. It's like you're fighting for truth, justice and the "authentic" Twitterverse way.

David Meerman Scott

Brian - congrats on going independent. I've been on my own for close to a decade and love it. Keep 'em honest.

Alison from @Acura_Insider

Thank you to everyone for your feedback regarding this situation. As I have communicated to David, we are also disappointed about the tweets that were sent out under the @Acura_Insider handle, offering VIP access to people who were not attending Jazz Fest. The intention of this program was to provide an exclusive VIP experience during the festival to those checking in and tweeting from Jazz Fest. The program worked well during the first weekend of the festival, but it appears that the company we were working with changed something for the second weekend and messaged people that they were not supposed to; essentially anyone using the hashtag regardless of whether or not they were there. For those in attendance, they were grateful for the opportunity and pleased with the VIP treatment.

I manage the @Acura_Insider account and take pride in how the account is run. I personally send out nearly every tweet and try to engage with as many people as possible. It is our goal to truly provide an insider's perspective into Acura and it is extremely rare for us to work with an outside company or send an automated tweet. We have learned from the negative effect of this campaign and will be sure to prevent such occurrences in the future.

David Meerman Scott


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment here to let us all know what happened. And thank you for your private messages to me over the past few days.

As I said in the post, I do think this was a good idea for Acura - as a frequent festival-goer, I would have loved to relax in the VIP area.

Thanks for letting all of us learn from this and good luck to you in the future.



After all of that and 7 days at the fest and I wasn't invited to the @Acura_Insider tent! Maybe next year!

David Meerman Scott

Renee - I'd like to go next year. Maybe we'll get into the tent together and talk it up!

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