SpaghettiOs Apologizes For Offensive Pearl Harbor Day Tweet

Suffice to say, asking Americans to remember one of the worst attacks on their country by a foreign power by sharing a picture of a giant, smiling piece of pasta waving an American flag probably wasn’t wise. But that’s what SpaghettiOs — the canned spaghetti product from Campbell Soup Company — did on Twitter. Twelve hours […]

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Suffice to say, asking Americans to remember one of the worst attacks on their country by a foreign power by sharing a picture of a giant, smiling piece of pasta waving an American flag probably wasn’t wise. But that’s what SpaghettiOs — the canned spaghetti product from Campbell Soup Company — did on Twitter. Twelve hours after posting it, and in response to negative reaction, the brand pulled the tweet.

The company posted an apology early on December 7 — Pearl Harbor Day — saying that “We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. We meant to pay respect, not to offend.”

The tweet that SpaghettiOs acknowledged being offensive was also removed. It went out on the evening of December 6, asking people to “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us,” along with this picture:

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At the time we originally posted this story (2:23am ET), the tweet had nearly 3,000 retweets and just over 1,000 favorites. Those stats probably shouldn’t be taken as sign of popularity but rather shock or disgust, judging from some of the comments in reaction to the tweet, including:

Comedian Patton Oswalt, with 1.5 million Twitter followers, shared a number of tweets mocking the SpaghettiOs one, including:

Not all the comments I read in reaction were bad (see some yourself with this search on Twitter). A few even felt those expressing outrage were overreacting. It’s hard to judge what the overall sentiment was. But I wouldn’t say it was positive, and I thought the tweet might get pulled because of it, as I wrote in the first edition of this story. Looks like that was the case.

By the way, earlier this week another Campbell’s brand — Pace Salsa — seemed caught up in a Twitter fiasco. However, that was a prank between two comedians involving a fake account, so it wasn’t down to Campbell’s at all.

Postscript: This story has been updated to reflect the apology and the original tweet being pulled. Also, in the first edition of the story, we wrote that Campbell’s had acknowledged the tweet to be a mistake. This was based on a tweet from Adam Kmiec, who tweeted, “I find it fascinating and sad how the social media community turns on their own, when a brand makes a mistake. Don’t throw stones…”



Kmiec, who we profiled recently, was head of social media marketing for Campbell’s. However, he tweeted today that he no longer works at Campbell’s, implying also that he didn’t at the time of the SpaghettiO tweet yesterday. He appears to have left some time between December 3 and December 6, since as of December 2, he tweeted as still being part of Campbell’s. We did email him after our story first went up but received no response.


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About the author

Danny Sullivan
Contributor
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, MarTech, and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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