To paraphrase Godwin’s law: If you tweet something widely enough, sooner or later it will be associated with Hitler or Nazis.
That’s the lesson Coca-Cola learned when it suspended its #MakeItHappy campaign after a prank used Coke’s autotweet function to quote lines from "Mein Kampf."
#MakeItHappy, launched at the Super Bowl, featured a Twitter campaign that invited users to mark negative tweets with the hashtag #MakeItHappy. Coca-Cola automatically transformed the content of those marked tweets into friendly ASCII cartoons, such as a balloon dog.
The campaign took an unexpected turn when gossip site Gawker used the function to tweet the first four paragraphs of Hitler’s autobiography, using the handle @MeinCoke.
After Gawker’s prank gained Internet attention, Coca-Cola on Thursday suspended the campaign, stating to AdWeek: "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."
Coke told Business Insider its intention was always to end the campaign after Wednesday.