How Kotaku and Gawker Media Lost a Reader

It's been a long time since my last blog and I've mostly moved away from this site for a variety of reasons, but I feel a need to express myself in an appropriate venue today. I just recently read about Gawker's publicity stunt where they tweeted Hitler's Mein Kampf and tricked Coca-Cola into re-tweeting it through the use of the MakeItHappy hashtag. To no one's surprise, said campaign has been suspended. Now, in general, I don't care for most of the opinion pieces on the Gawker Media sites because they push political correctness to a ridiculous extreme. However, in their defense, they are quite consistent with their message and overall tone which usually suggests that most of us are horrible people who need to improve (which is at least a partially true statement).

So I find it quite disturbing and disheartening that a website which presents itself as a moral authority, went out of its way to derail a completely harmless (hell, potentially beneficial) campaign about minimizing hate speech. Of course the campaign is designed to improve the image of a multinational corporation and win customer loyalty, but that is how advertising works. You can't really blame Coke for having a marketing department and this has to be one of the least sleazy ways to push a product I've ever seen. You can criticize Coke all you want for it's accused sins such as environmental destruction and exploitation of local labor, but is tweeting Mein Kampf really the most effective way to go about doing that? It's certainly not the most mature.

When you really think about all of this, Coca-Cola's MakeItHappy initiative actually worked just fine; it turned Mein Kampf into a bunch of silly pictures. So what was accomplished here besides ruining the hard work of a few people in the marketing department? Honestly, there's not much more that I need to say because Gawker is so clearly in the wrong here. It's hard to go to battle with a huge, profit-driven corporation and come out looking like the bad guy, but Gawker managed to do so. They have issued no apology despite reader backlash and they appear to be quite pleased with themselves.

I would encourage you to truly think about this incident and decide if supporting Gawker is worth your time. It is not worth mine.