3 Things That Went Wrong with Delta’s U.S.-Ghana World Cup Tweet

If you're anywhere near a TV, computer or newspaper today, you probably know that the United States beat Ghana in its first game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil last night in pretty thrilling fashion. A late goal to break a tie game sent the country into revelry and social media managers to their computers to share their congratulations to the U.S. team.

Delta went with the following Tweet:

delta ghana giraffe tweet

At first, this may seem like a patriotic celebration of an exciting national event. How can you go wrong with a Statue of Liberty sunset? But minutes after Delta sent the tweet out, negative feedback began rolling in.

Here are 3 things that went wrong with Delta's congratulatory tweet:

  • Delta was too quick. In an effort to be relevant and get their message of congratulations out to the U.S. national team and its fans, Delta tweeted at 8:08 p.m., a little over 10 minutes after the game ended. If they hadn't been so hasty, it might have come to their attention that...
  • There are no wild giraffes in Ghana. Giraffes, which are the world's tallest mammal and can reach speeds of up to 35 mph, are incredibly interesting and well-adapted creatures, but they are by no means pervasive on the African continent. According to the African Wildlife Foundation and the World Wildlife Foundation, there are no wild giraffes in Ghana. Still, even if giraffes were found all over Ghana...
  • Giraffes shouldn't be compared to statues. Delta's tweet was almost immediately called out as racist, and when you think about the comparison they made—an august, towering statue representing the United States with a comparatively diminutive animal representing Ghana—it's easy to see why.

Eventually, Delta apologized with another tweet, saying, "We're sorry for our choice of photo in our previous tweet. Best of luck to all teams." But the Internet never forgets.

Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene


Deals of the Week

$150 Off PR News' Social Media Summit

socialmedia201602-180x150Join PR News in Huntington Beach, CA on Feb. 26 for the Social Media Summit, where you'll be immersed in real-world, tactical case studies from brands, nonprofits and agencies and get takeaways in pulling and analyzing social media data; emerging social platforms and apps and so much more. 

Use code “150” at checkout to save $150 o the regular rate.

$50 off the CSR & Green PR Guidebook

csr_vol7_print_digital-thumbPR News’ CSR & Green PR Guidebook, Vol. 7 captures best practices in communicating the positive relationships that organizations are building with their communities of interest. This six-chapter guidebook connects the dots between the effective communication of positive social contributions and corresponding improvements in bottom lines.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription



Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

  • DebH

    Actually, to add insult to injury, Delta’s apology tweet had a typo so that it read: “We’re sorry for the choice of photo in our precious tweet…”

  • Darla

    social media mistakes like this make me wonder HOW so many talented, socially-aware writers go unemployed while dummies continue to put out rubbish like that. moreover, as one of the biggest air travel companies in world, how could Delta be so ignorant??? They do service Accra, what an insult to an entire nation that is offering them expanded business opportunities.

  • jensenwrites

    It’s called planning. This is true whether you’re working in print or social media. There is a defined process in the print industry before anything is published. The same needs to hold true for social media publishing if it’s going to retain its credibility.

    • Claudette Lacombe

      I agree with jensenwrties. This was not a surprise event. Maybe it’s a good thing they won because obviously Delta didn’t have carefully crafted messages ready for either outcome. Imagine what the tweet may have said if US lost.

  • Principia

    I think we take soccer, twitter, PR, and ourselves much too seriously.