Random House accused of sleaze for using #LestWeForget hashtag for marketing

random house lestweforget tweetPublisher Random House has triggered a social media storm after hijacking the #LestWeForget hashtag with a marketing message.

The tweet was published at 11am EST to coincide with the minute’s Armistice Day silence held to remember Australia’s war dead.

Random House tweeted: “In honour of our fallen heroes we’re giving away a selection of war books. RT & follow us to enter! #LestWeForget”.

random house twitter

However, the tweet quickly drew a backlash, with other Twitter users accusing it of “sleazy” marketing efforts.

Random House head of publicity Karen Reid is listed as the owner of the publisher’s Twitter account.

Random House has so far not responded to the growing anger on Twitter about the tweet. It is possible that the message was set up before the weekend under timed release and that publisher was not monitoring the reaction to the tweet on Sunday afternoon.

At the time of posting, Random House had not responded to Mumbrella’s request for comment.

November 12 update: Random House has now removed the tweet and apologised:

random house apology

Brett Osmond, the publisher’s ANZ marketing and publicity director told Mumbrella: “We did not mean to be disrespectful in any way and we have apologised for any offence that may have been caused. This morning I have taken the opportunity to discuss the use of social media with my team and the appropriateness or not of certain tactics.

“We are proud to publish, both in fiction and non-fiction, some truly great books telling the stories of our war heroes, but recognise that this was not conveyed in our tweet.”


  1. Mike
    11 Nov 12
    4:39 pm

  2. Talk about an over-reaction. I personally don’t see what the problem is. They haven’t been disrepectful to the dead and they aren’t selling anything. If you think it’s a cheap gimic, ignore it and move on.

  3. Tim
    11 Nov 12
    4:53 pm

  4. lol @ this…. everyone under the sun uses Anzac Day in this way…. double standards…

  5. Soozie Bea
    11 Nov 12
    10:39 pm

  6. The ANZAC thing is a religion here in Australia. This is just more proof.

  7. willemrt
    12 Nov 12
    10:25 am

  8. I guess the point is that if you are a savvy marketer, you would learn when it is, and isn’t right to do this.

    But most of all, be ready, and able, to apologise quickly if you get it wrong. It happens but responding in a timely manner is important.

  9. Janelle
    12 Nov 12
    11:49 am

  10. Exactly right willemrt.

    Good communicators/marketers know that timing is everything and this was terrible timing.

    Also, why don’t these people learn from previous stuff ups, that you NEVER use a potentially sensitive topic to benefit your social media strategy.

    A little planning and common sense before using social media for promotion goes a long way.

  11. Rodney A Smith
    12 Nov 12
    11:52 am

  12. Here we go again.

    Anything is OK as long as its justified as marketing or advertising.

    It’s time that we learned that some things are above the commercial hum-drum. And just because someone did a similar thing in the past is a lazy and pointless justification.

    Where did the idea that any event is fair game, as long as its well-managed.

  13. Tom
    12 Nov 12
    12:19 pm

  14. Is an alcohol manufacturer’s Victoria Bitter ‘raise a glass appeal’ that much different?

  15. Tassiedave
    12 Nov 12
    2:21 pm

  16. Dear Random House, might be worth buying an Aussie dictionary and finding out how we spell offence, while you’re at it.