Yesterday, while we were at home cleaning the mildew off our shower curtains, a certain someone hacked Burger King‘s official Twitter account, assumed the identity of a certain major competitor fronted by a clown named Ronald, and left some very…interesting messages.
The hack appeared to be a concerted effort that ended almost as soon as it began, but over an hour or so it released a deluge of profanity, hip-hop references and accusations culminating in this image:
Burger King quickly reasserted control and deleted the offending tweets:
Interesting day here at BURGER KING®, but we’re back! Welcome to our new followers. Hope you all stick around!
— BurgerKing (@BurgerKing) February 19, 2013
While this hack was more than a little embarrassing for Burger King’s communications team, many users seemed more amused than irritated–and BK’s account earned quite a few followers in the meantime! So could this little incident turn into a PR win?
@burgerking welcome back now you got street cred 😉
— Shabooty ➿ (@SHABOOTY) February 19, 2013
Well, that’s a bit of a stretch–but it is possible. The hackers, who mentioned the digital anarchists at Anonymous and LulzSec and used the hashtag #OpMadCow, didn’t seem to have any particular beef with the Burger King organization–they were just doing it for kicks. McDonald’s didn’t stand to benefit either.
We empathize with our @burgerking counterparts. Rest assured, we had nothing to do with the hacking.
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) February 18, 2013
Here’s our theory: with a little humor, Burger King can use this opportunity to position itself as a brand that knows how to shrug off a potentially disastrous PR challenge. Make a little joke about it, heighten internal security, and get back to tweeting about the ways in which the Whopper is better than the Big Mac.
(For the record, we were glad to come across the only Twitter feed in the world that didn’t mention the Harlem Shake.)