Thursday, August 7, 2014

Stepping in the Muck: How to have a Social Media Meltdown

There is a company on Facebook calling itself The Original Muck Boot Company with a page to promote their wares. Muck Boots? That just begs for a whole lot of puns, such as, did they have their boots on before they stepped in the Muck? 

Muck Boots starts their journey by posting an interesting series of pictures on Friday, August 1st. First they post a cutesy photo of how they 'lost a team member at a fundraiser' with a picture of an employee hiding behind a stack of boots as if that is the 'lost member.'   The Facebook post also includes the Twitter hash tag of #GivingBack, besides the obviously in your face reference to the Humane Society of the United States and their hashtag. What are they giving back? What’s the point of hiding behind the boots? Are we supposed to look for her? Is this a guessing game as to which employee that is? Is this a game of Where’s Waldo? Is she playing hide and seek?  
What’s the point of this photo? 

In the second picture posted to Facebook, they hint that maybe they really did "lose" somebody and that maybe someone has died but that doesn't square with the cutesy photo of two smiling girls posing with boots. If this is a memorial for someone who has died, where’s the dignity? Where’s the sadness? Do you laugh at a funeral too? This picture is completely inappropriate to link to the death of a human being. Do you sell boots on the grave?  Shuck them curbside at the funeral home? How mucked up is that?

But was it an employee? Who was it that all this is in memory of? One of their "own" what?  

Then the following also shows their posts and date line: 

In all these cases, they mention they raised over $2,000 in a 'fundraiser' to give to the HSUS by #GivingBack. But what has HSUS done for their customer base that they deserve this Giving Back? Now the Muck boot Companies target audience for their products are farmers, ranchers, hunters, and anglers.  In fact, a huge section of dog show people also buy Muck Boots. HSUS is the #1 enemy of their entire customer base.  HSUS is the number one most dangerous animal rights extremist organization in America today.  They are against farmers, ranchers, hunters and anglers.   Additionally, President Wayne Pacelle of HSUS has gone on record stating he doesn't want to see another dog or cat born.   

Their customers were justifiably outraged. Articles galore appear in Dairy Carrie, Agriculture Proud, Dairy Herd, Beef Daily, and others screaming about why the Muck Boot company was selling out its own customer base to the biggest enemy they have. An enemy determined to put them all out of business. Facebook blew up with thousands of posts, cross posts, and shares and #WhatTheMuck made the Twitter rounds.

So company supposedly blunders. Problem One. Company ignores the social media blunder for days while anger grows. Problem Two. Company then attempts to evade the issue with lame redirection. Problem Three.

Okay, this is one lame response. Company explains they simply linked to wrong source, but never addresses the thousands of customer questions about whether or not they support HSUS. Remember that one. A fundraiser over the sale of boots and private personal monetary donations made at a funeral for a charity that the family of an employee supports are two vastly different animals. Furthermore, suddenly now the issue is stray cats. Remember that one.

Social media continues in an uproar with customers stating they had either thrown their boots out or set them on fire. Many others left links to the competitors websites for Muck Boots with the comment that these other companies would be getting their future business and they'd never buy another Muck product again. The lame apology post received 522 shares, 433 likes, and 659 comments, and counting with no response from Muck. Zero, none. One of the best comments left on the Muck Boot Company Facebook page was this one: 

Problem Four. The company is caught in a lie. Suddenly even more flames are thrown on the fire.  The donation recipient says, they got no donation. Did Muck Boots honestly think that their customers wouldn't check out their story? 

Social media outrage continues while Muck Boots continues its silence.  Then suddenly the word goes out that it’s the CEO’s dog who died, not an employee. Several people posted a version of the following. 

Then there was this one from another poster offering some more tidbits: 

Muck has donated to HSUS before?  Is that true?  Muck continues to evade answering the question. Was it a human being who died and "family members" requested donations? Or was it the CEO’s dog who died and asked employees for donations? Again Muck is totally silent and not answering their customer's questions. It doesn't matter if it was a human or a dog who was being honored, what matters is the mucked up story.

Then HANRI, the so-called recipient of their donation, also changes their story. They scrubbed the announcement from their page that they had never heard of Muck Boots. Then they updated their status to say that they had been in touch with Muck Boots, who told them they would get a donation. Then they scrubbed and deleted that status as well.  But HANRI, while claiming to not be affiliated with HSUS, is really pretty much in bed with them anyway.  And since when is this a donation from the Muck Company? Just a day earlier the company said, "The money is not a corporate donation, but a collection of personal contributions." If so, then the money is not from the Muck Boot Company.  Why the cream puff photos with boots then?

Check out this post from HANRI recommending standing up for wolves for the "greater good."  Great!  HANRI are wolf huggers!  

I cover the Wolf Huggers Issue in my new book, The Art of Terror. Basically, eco-freaks and animal rights extremists are working through clueless bureaucrats to destroy farmers, ranchers, pet owners, and human beings through the wolf reintroduction program.  Wolfs aren't critically endangered, they are serial killers destroying livestock, wildlife, pets, and yes, human beings. Perhaps HANRI doesn't realize that cats are simply chicken nuggets to a wolf.  The only way I'd stand up for a wolf is if I was running from one.

Then finally this comment was made in the comments section of a blog on August 6th, 2014, that may or may not be a real Muck Boots company employee.

Then again Sean O’Brien surfaces on another article, but he doesn't surface on the official Facebook page for Muck.  That's pretty mucked up.

He’s saying on August 6th that a donation was hand-delivered that morning. On the 6th.   That's six days later and only after the social media firestorm questioning this entire scenario.

Muck Boots is apparently really sorry. Muck Boots is also no longer thinking of stray cats… suddenly now they are thinking of 'rescue puppies and kittens.' Puppies? Kittens? What happened to stray cats? Who brought puppies into this conversation? HANRI doesn’t have any dogs.  They are a cat rescue.  Digging themselves deeper into the muck, Sean O’Brien obviously isn't aware of the massive #rescuemill industry in selling animals for profit through shelters that many of his customers are. 

But the Rescue Scam Trade is not the point of this article. The point is Social Media. Showing who is more social media savvy, HANRI has repeatedly scrubbed their site clean of comments in this controversy, but Muck Boots has allowed thousands of negative posts up for going on a week, not to mention their extremely lackadaisical approach to the outrage of their customers. Is there any way that they could have mucked this up any worse? It's now been two full days since their lame apology which has racked up over 700 mostly negative comments and they have not commented or explained further.  They have not answered any of their own customers questions.  They haven't answered any questions on Twitter at all other than a link to their lame apology three days ago.  With a constantly changing story and a mostly mute company, customers are left to assume the worst. 

Or in social media speak:  #MuckBoots  #MuckFail   #EpicFail  #WhatTheMuck

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