Coca-Cola has withdrawn its #MakeitHappy Twitter campaign after it was ambushed and duped into tweeting segments of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
The campaign was launched to great fanfare in an advertisement spot during the Super Bowl. Coke wanted people to respond to “pervasive online negativity” with the #MakeItHappy hashtag. An algorithm was designed convert tweets to happy objects, such as a cute picture of a cat playing drums or a palm tree wearing sunglasses.
But Gawker, an online media firm, noticed that one adorable mouse that was re-published by the MakeitHappy campaign was made up of the fourteen words of a white nationalist slogan.
It spun into action and set up a Twitter bot called @Meincoke, which churned out quotes from Mein Kampf and linked them to the #MakeItHappy tag. Soon after the drinks company’s Twitter feed was producing cutesey pictures made up of lines of the Nazi dictator’s autobiographical manifesto.
It began with: “It has turned out fortunate for me today that destiny appointed Braunau-on-the-Inn to be my birthplace” and got to “My father was a civil servant who fulfilled his duty very conscientiously” before Coca-Cola caught wind and shut down the campaign.
The company pulled the campaign after three days and in a statement to Adweek it said: “The #MakeItHappy message is simple: The Internet is what we make it, and we hoped to inspire people to make it a more positive place. It’s unfortunate that Gawker is trying to turn this campaign into something that it isn’t.
“Building a bot that attempts to spread hate through #MakeItHappy is a perfect example of the pervasive online negativity Coca-Cola wanted to address with this campaign.”