Chrysler fires agency after staffer drops F-bomb in a Tweet

Be careful what you say in a Tweet! An agency employee said to be texting while driving ridiculed Motor City with the F-word. The Tweet went viral - and that was that!

The tweet two days ago from the @ChryslerAutos account read: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to fucking drive."

The motor city theme is at the centre of Chrysler's current advertising, beginning with the two-minute Superbowl ad featuring Eminem. The ad introduced the tagline for Chrysler, "Imported From Detroit."

The employee was fired by NMS but Chrysler then went further by saying it would not renew the agency's contract.

The employee is thought to have believed he or she was logged in to a private Twitter account rather than Chrysler's account. The employee wrote tweets throughout the day as part of his or her job.

After the f-word went out, it was quickly deleted, but had already been retweeted by a few Chrysler followers and spread to blogs.

"Even if it had gone out under their private account, we would have had issues with it as it indirectly referenced a Chrysler ad and violated the company's policy about texting while driving," said Chrysler spokeswoman Dianna Guitierrez.

Ad Age, reporting the story, said it was unable to determine whether the tweet went out while the employee was indeed driving.

Chrysler's communications team grappled to get hold of the details of the episode after bloggers and media began calling about the tweet.

On its website, Pete Snyder, CEO of MNS, said the agency "regrets this this unfortunate incident. It certainly doesn't accurately reflect the overall high-quality work we have produced for Chrysler. We respect their decision and will work with them to ensure an effective transition."

Mr. Snyder himself was in hot water last month for talking about the company's two-minute Super Bowl ad the Friday before the game on a national TV news programme. Chrysler had sworn everyone to secrecy until kickoff.

In Chrysler's communication blog to the media, staffer Ed Garstens wrote, "The tweet denigrated drivers in Detroit and used the fully spelled-out F-word. It was obviously meant to be posted on the person's personal Twitter account, and not the Chrysler Brand account where it appeared.

"So why were we so sensitive? That commercial featuring the Chrysler 200, Eminem and the City of Detroit wasn't just an act of salesmanship. This company is committed to promoting Detroit and its hard-working people. The reaction to that commercial, the catchphrase 'imported from Detroit,' and the overall positive messages it sent has been volcanic."

The f-bomb has spotlighted a continuing turf battle between marketing and communications departments over who should own and manage social media, said Ad Age.

The Chrysler communications department has separate Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr accounts that are meant to be "media facing."

Many companies say the divide only serves turf and budget wars, not the brands. Stuart Schorr, VP-communications at Jaguar-Land Rover North America commented," It's critical for communications and marketing to be coordinating and cooperating all the time."

For Jaguar Land Rover, for example, all tweets and Facebook posts are cleared by a small internal communications group, said Mr. Schorr. Land Rover's marketing agency, Wunderman Worldwide, manages Land Rover's branded Twitter account, but all posts are cleared by communications.

"I believe communications is better trained and oriented to deal with the real-time and back-and-forth nature of social media, but we have a very collaborative and coordinated effort with marketing," said Mr. Schorr.