This past weekend children across the country sent flowers, cards, and presents to the most important woman in their lives for Mother’s Day. The San Diego Padres tried showing appreciation to mothers as well, but it almost backfired in a big way.On Sunday, the Padres changed their Twitter account from @Padres to @Madres in celebration for the holiday. Ricky Padilla, a sophomore at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, seized the moment and scooped up the temporarily abandoned username.
After snagging the account that had been previously associated with the MLB team, Padilla received hundreds of text messages and Twitter notifications. The number of tweets Padilla received isn’t all that surprising given that the Padres have a following of about 400,000 on Twitter who are used to tweeting at the team using @Padres.
The transition was short lived. Twitter quickly stepped in and removed @Padres from Padilla, which is a good thing as he would have probably been flooded with tweets later that day as the Padres appeared to be rallying in the top of the 9th against the Rockies.
Although the Padres didn’t win on Sunday, there were no hard feelings with Padilla. The team thanked him for watching over their Twitter account and offered him tickets to a game with his “Madre and Padre”.
The Padres are not the only ones who let marketing get the best of them. It is common for marketing teams to take on a great campaign to only find out it puts their company in hot water. In this case it was just a temporary loss of a social media username. In other instances, companies either give away important assets like trade secrets or get themselves into a dispute by accidentally infringing on another’s intellectual property.
The lesson to take away from the Padres mishap is that marketing campaigns can have a negative impact, even for large organizations like a major league team. Reliance on online marketing and social media can make even small missteps have exponentially higher drawbacks. Make sure your company takes a look at the possible liabilities that advertising can have. If possible, a quick call to an intellectual property attorney can keep you out of trouble—just like a quick call to your mom any day of the year.