How do big brands or prominent public figures in the limelight recover from a social media fail? Take the Australian Prime Minister for instance. His family portrait over Christmas went viral on social media in a Twitter #Shoegate scandal.
The original family portrait of Mr Morrison with his own worn-in shoes appears in his 2018 Christmas video, which was tweeted out on Christmas Eve.
Image courtesy: The Australian
However, it was soon brought to the nation’s attention that tax dollars were spent on a clumsy retouching job in the ministerial graphics department. In a Photoshop fail, a pair of white shoes were poorly edited over the PM’s original pair and posted on the site pm.gov.au
Spot the difference.
#auspol story of 2019: our latest PM (ScoMo) had nice white shoes photoshopped onto his feet for his official https://t.co/eXNtcX7xTa site?! Yup. Regular bloke. Our tax dollars hard at work. #shoegate pic.twitter.com/kA0gG0yy9L
— Luke (@lukerhn) January 8, 2019
Adding to the hilarity, it seemed like the left shoe was amateurishly edited onto his right foot, giving him with two left feet. The error quickly went viral on social media with Twitter going into a frenzy of tweets highlighting the now-trending botched Photoshop effort.
Another Twitter user suggested that perhaps the shoes were real and Mr Morrison was photoshopped into the photo instead.
Graciously siding his comfy original footwear, the Prime Minister did manage to see the humorous side of the controversy, saying he’d prefer a hairline to a shoeshine. That would be amusing too, for a politician, surely.
Message to my Department (PM&C): I didn’t ask for the shoeshine, but if you must Photoshop, please focus on the hair (lack thereof), not the feet! 😀
Here they are in all their glory – my footwear of choice whenever I can get out of a suit. pic.twitter.com/hKKUstnArq
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 8, 2019
News of the photoshop fail soon went viral on social media and other Twitter users weighed in doctoring some photos of their own.
— The Shovel (@TheShovel) January 8, 2019
In this case, the blunder was not the first time the Prime Minister has accidentally gone viral. Late last year, Mr Morrison tweeted a video of Question Time played over rapper Fatman Scoop’s explicit track Be Faithful, and after public backlash quickly deleted the tweet and apologised.
After the internet mocking, the Prime Minister’s website changed the photo to the original untouched image. At least this social media fail was amusing.
There’s a lesson to be learnt here. While social media helps brands humanise their marketing efforts and connect with their followers, social media blunders can and do happen. Acknowledging the mistake and owning up to it, even with a little sense of humour, can be the redeeming factor that helps make your brand or product more human and ultimately more relatable.