With a messy sensibility to make even Lady Bunny blush, Microsoft’s PR department layed a colossal egg when they tweeted hours after Amy Winehouse’s death the great savings her fans could get on her music over at the Zune Marketplace.
The tweet read: “Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune:social.zune.net/album/Amy-Wine…”
After a noisy backlash on Twitter, Microsoft apologized, saying: “Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you.”
Here’s a pro-tip for anyone who needs to be sincere about their apologies: it’s not technically an apology when your statement is conditional. If you mean it, don’t use the word “if” in your apology. Acknowleding you made a mistake and taking ownership of it is the right thing to do. Moving the attention away from yourself and onto others by making it conditional “I’m sorry IF I offended you” just makes you sound like an even bigger marketing douchebag.
Here’s what I would have liked to see them say: “Whoops! Sorry for our earlier Amy Winehouse tweet, some of you thought it was in poor taste, and we agree. Here’s a coupon to download any of her songs on us. Sorry.”
Why are marketing people so bad at marketing and just being decent human beings?