Google’s Greggs blunder

More known for their reasonably priced pasties than their online presence, Greggs has been causing a stir this week as a Google mix up resulted in a rather insulting change of image.

On Tuesday, when searching for their favourite supplier of baked goods, Googlers were surprised to find that Greggs’ usual slogan of ‘Always Fresh. Always Tasy’ has been replaced by the altogether more offensive, ‘Providing s–t to scum for over 70 years’.

The mistake was a result of Google’s sourcing of the image, rather than using Greggs’ standard logo, the Google’s crawlers used an image from Uncyclopedia, a just-for-fun Wikipedia-style website which is known for its sometimes unpalatable tone.

Crucially, the site is hosted by Wikia, which hosts a variety of images, some of which are genuine and some of which (like the one in question) are not. Google’s bots couldn’t tell the difference between a regular logo and sarcastic parody, hence the mistake.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter was soon all over the gaff, with hundreds of tweets bringing the issue to Gregg’s attention. What was interesting was the way Greggs’ PR team managed to turn the tables on the situation, rectifying a potentially damaging mistake and turning it into a social media triumph.

Greggs’ social crew jumped on the issue immediately, responding with a good deal of humour and attention to their customers. A promise of donuts to Google if they fixed the problem was the main highlight, as well as a cheeky attempt to land the Doodle for the next day, with a cleverly arranged tray of sausage rolls spelling out ‘Google’.

The whole affair shows that even the methods used by internet giants such as Google aren’t always watertight and mistakes are always a possibility.

Greggs’ response to a potentially difficult day was an exemplary use of social media to diffuse a situation and turn it to their advantage. By replying to customer tweets and their use of humour, they managed to enhance their online brand reputation when it could have been so very different.

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