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Increasingly, businesses are taking advantage of the vast reach that social media offers to connect with consumers. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide a free platform with which to advertise and engage an audience. While using social media can be a useful tool, some companies are finding it to be a double-edged sword. One wrong post on a company's official Facebook page can become a lightning rod for controversy.
This is what seems to have taken place with soft drink maker Dr Pepper. The company posted a graphic on its Facebook page Thursday titled "Evolution of Flavor." The image parodies the popular "March of Progress" diagram, which shows the evolution of human beings from lower forms to present-day people. The Dr Pepper version evolves from "pre-pepper" to "Pepper Discovery" to "Post Pepper."
The post made quite a splash, but maybe not for the reason that Dr Pepper intended. Purported creationists started commenting with complaints about what they thought was Dr Pepper's endorsement of evolutionary theory. One person wrote, "I love Dr Pepper but hate this photo. Forget evolution." Another person wrote, "Well, there goes my support for this company." It's unclear how many of the entries were sarcastic, but the post now has more than 3,000 comments, with most of them debating evolution. Among those supporting evolution were people encouraging everyone to calm down. One person wrote, "It's just a joke. People gotta lighten up and just live life."
The post has received more than 25,000 likes so far, and the company does not seem to be in any rush to remove the graphic. Guess this controversy proves that this saying holds true:"There's no such thing as bad publicity." People are still talking about Dr Pepper.