Aston Martin Brandjacked On Twitter

Aston Martin joins a long list of people and organizations to have been brandjacked on Twitter.

A fake account, AstonMartin, has attracted a reasonable (though not huge) following while posing as an official account. My attention was drawn to it when the account retweeted one of my posts about a recall of older car models by General Motors. Re-posting negative messages about competitors didn’t seem to fit the image of a luxury brand that positions itself well above the cars produced by GM. The tone of some responses to other users also seemed somewhat more sarcastic (and wrong – GM doesn’t own Aston Martin) than one would expect.

When asked, the person behind the account would not confirm whether it was an official Aston Martin account, instead directing me to check the account’s profile (which gave the impression that it was official):

Twitter exchange with fake Aston Martin account

My suspicion was furthered when I noticed the account automatically posting links featuring the words “Aston” and “Martin” (an unfortunate coincidence for Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill):

A quick query to Aston Martin’s media line confirmed my suspicion (fellow Torontonian Ben Lucier also inquired). Press Officer Kim Lawrence Palmer replied:

 

Dear Mr. Fleet,

Thank you for your email. I am afraid that this isn’t the real Aston Martin, and I am pursuing Twitter to remove the page. We do however have an official Facebook page here:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Aston-Martin/15678718354?ref=ts

Kind regards

Kim

Takeaways

No real damage has been done to the Aston Martin brand, and the response from their public affairs unit indicates they’re moving to shut the account down. In future, though, how can companies avoid brandjacking incidents like this?

Monitor your brand

There are many, many listening tools out there. Monitoring and listening are foundational pieces in a modern web strategy.

Be proactive

Task someone in your organization with claiming your company’s profile name on new services that emerge, so that accounts like this can’t appear.

Set policies

At the moment the identity of the Aston Martin account owner is unknown (and may remain so) – we don’t know if it is someone external to the organization, or an overly keen employee. Regardless, organizations should establish clear policies on what practices are and are not acceptable, so employees have clear boundaries within which to operate.

Consumers beware

Lastly, as social media users and practitioners we need to remember to confirm identities before taking things at face value. Until we have more robust means of confirming identities, make sure you’re certain that a particular profile actually represents a brand – look for contact information you can use to confirm, or links from other corporate properties to the profile.

Your thoughts?