Aurora massacre: Store uses #Aurora on Twitter to promote dress
Celeb Boutique used the word 'Aurora,' the name of the Colorado city in which Friday's movie theater shooting occurred, to promote this dress. Above, a screen grab from its website. (Celeb Boutique / July 20, 2012)
After a gunman killed at least 12 people and injured dozens more in Aurora, Colo., early Friday, the word "Aurora" began trending on Twitter. Not long after, online retailer Celeb Boutique wondered in a tweet whether that trend was due to a Kim Kardashian-inspired dress it sells, dubbed the Aurora.
"#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired dress ;)" the tweet said, followed by a link to the product page for the $157 white frock.
The Twitter universe quickly cleared up that misconception. Some users bashed the retailer for being oblivious; many others accused the company of using a tragedy to promote its apparel. The deadly shooting occurred at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
Celeb Boutique, which specializes in celebrity-inspired fashions and lists its address in Buenos Aires, eventually deleted the message and apologized in a series of tweets.
"We apologise for our misunderstanding about Aurora," the first tweet said.
"We didn't check what the trend was hence the confusion, again we do apologise," another said.
The retailer explained later that its public relations team is not based in the U.S. and "had not checked the reason for the trend" on Twitter.
"Our social media was totally UNAWARE of the situation and simply thought it was another trending topic," the company said later on Twitter. "We have removed the very insensitive tweet and will of course take more care in future to look into what we say in our tweets."
To many outraged Twitter users, it was too late.
"We should get #celebboutique trending. Clearly to promote 'How To Destroy Your Company Using Social Media,'" one tweeted.
Another: "Celeb Boutique -- You Freaking Morons."
This isn't the first time a company has inspired anger on Twitter by playing off the news. (Usually they know what the news is, though.)
Fashion brand Kenneth Cole caused a stir last year by suggesting that protestors in Egypt were actually excited about its new spring collection.
And Microsoft caught serious flak with its tweet encouraging Amy Winehouse fans to remember the singer, who died last July, by buying her last album from Zune, the company's digital marketplace.