The biggest PR disasters often are those that are self-inflicted, and the Girl Scouts are the latest organization to prove this point.
For the record, I love the Girl Scouts. My daughter was a card-carrying member, and who doesn’t love their cookies? But tweeting about the confirmation of arguably the most controversial U.S. Supreme Court Justice in the past century one week before one of the nastiest presidential elections in modern times is just asking – no, begging – for trouble.
Unsurprisingly, it turned into the usual three-act play:
Act 1: Tweet something controversial about a 50-50 issue.
Act 2: Feel the withering backlash from 50% of the people; try to back away from the issue.
Act 3: Incur the wrath of the 50% of people on the other side of the issue for trying to back away from the issue; slowly realize that you have pissed off approximately 100% of people.
The Girl Scouts is a beloved organization that will withstand the criticism because of the strength of its reputation (see Susan G. Komen Foundation). But it was an unforced error, and displayed a stunning lack of understanding about today’s political climate.