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Starbucks Irks the Irish by Calling Them British

Sarah Rappaport, News Assistant|CNBC
Wednesday, 6 Jun 2012 | 10:03 AM ET

Starbucks has provoked ire among Ireland's Twitter users when it inadvertently posted a message asking followers to show them why they’re proud to be British - to its Irish Twitter account.

Starbucks Coffee
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Starbucks Coffee

The message, posted to the StarbucksIreland account on Tuesday, the last day of celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee , read: “Happy hour is on! Show us what makes you proud to be British for a chance to win. Don’t forget to tag #MyFrappuccino.”

The message was left up for three hours on the @StarbucksIE account, after which an apology message was issued, explaining that the tweet had been sent to the wrong account.

The gaffe provoked a flurry of replies on Twitter, ranging from outrage to disappointment to requests for free coffee.

“@StarbucksIE the nice local team at Starbucks Ireland don’t know we’re not British? Epic fail at customer service. I’ll stick to local,” Maurice Moroney (@mossym155) tweeted.

Tom Gallagher (?@tightropetom) sent this message: “@StarbucksIE How stupid are you people? What makes Irish people proud to be British? Seriously? BTW I love your Canadian company.”

Jonathan Chubb (@JonathanChubb) linked the gaffe to the euro zone crisis and Ireland’s recent "yes" vote in the referendum over the European Union's fiscal stability treaty when he tweeted in reply: “Very upset @StarbucksIE has confused us to be British. Since the referendum everyone knows we are proud Germans.”

Starbucks apologized for the error.

“We apologize to our Irish customers for the mistake made on Twitter yesterday afternoon. The Tweet, which was only meant to be sent to our British Twitter followers as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, was erroneously posted to our Irish Twitter page. We apologize to all our customers and followers on Twitter in Ireland and hope that they will forgive our mistake,” a spokesperson said.

Starbucks isn’t the only U.S. company to have made the wrong kind of headlines because of their Twitter account.

McDonald’s paid for a sponsored Twitter hashtag called #McDStories, but had it pulled down shortly after Twitter users punished the attempt to force the trend by using the hashtag to disseminate negative stories.

And last year during the Arab Spring revolutions, clothing designer Kenneth Cole tweeted that “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo –KC.”

He later apologized.

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