SpaghettiOs Apologizes for Tone-Deaf Pearl Harbor Tweet

Saturday, 07 Dec 2013 07:18 PM

By Andrea Billups

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A Twitter post intended to honor Pearl Harbor Day instead stirred a backlash against the maker of SpaghetiOs, with critics tweeting  "uh-oh" and calling it tone deaf and disrespectful to  the military tragedy that signaled America's entry into World War II.

The tweet included a picture of the company's yellow O-shaped cartoon character smiling and waving an American flag – which many branded a base affront to the 2,402 Americans who died in the surprise Japanese air assault on U.S. battleships in Hawaii and the 1,282 who were wounded that fateful day, The Huffington Post reported.

"I think @SpaghettiO's is gonna have an opening for a new social media manager in a few hours," said one person who tweeted a response to the company.

Added Andy Levy of FoxNews' RedEye: "‪@SpaghettiOs maybe sit out the next couple plays."

Stand-up comic Patton Oswalt was more direct, tweeting back at the company a number of times and posting a photo of an exploding Hindenburg. He later tweeted: "I know how we'll fix this! Somebody photoshop Mr. O shaking hands with Mandela!" -- damage control at the ‪@SpaghettiOs Twitter feed."

A day after its original post, SpaghettiOs, noting the blogosphere backlash, took down the tweet and tweeted out its own apology, Mediaite.com reported. "We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. We meant to pay respect, not to offend," the company posted on Twitter.

Branding experts took note of the failed strategy, shaking their heads at corporations still attempting how to figure out best use of the Internet.

"We live in a world where a corporation once iconically used as a symbol of nihilistic consumerism by a pop artist thinks slapping a flag into the hand of a garish cartoon pasta noodle to mark one of the most disastrous days in U.S. history is 'branding,'" wrote The Daily Dot's Aja Romano in a column charting the trajectory of the Tweet and ensuing online memes it spawned.

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