You just got to know when is a good time to do a Twitter campaign where your users create the content, and that’s not when you make headlines across the country with a negative story. Especially when the story is about a company not paying taxes – that’s something the hard working citizen is not very fond of. Starbucks, you should have known better.
The company launched a hashtag campaign on Twitter #SpreadTheCheer which was used more for bashing the brand then spreading the holiday hip-hooray. And the more embarrassing part is that a big LED screen placed in one of their shops was showing the tweets. So, basically, while you’re drinking your favorite mocha, a tweet like “Tax dodging MoFo’s” appears on a giant led screen.
A Starbucks spokesperson said: “We apologise to any visitors who may have been offended by inappropriate messages displayed on the Twitter wall screen at the Natural History Museum’s ice rink café on Sunday. This was due to a temporary malfunction with the content filtering system.”
So, back to the taxes. According to research conducted by news agency Reuters, the company devised a legal way of making fake losses through royalty payments for use of the brand and other global fees, and that way the company cut income tax. Starbucks UK has paid less then 1% in corporation tax over 14 years. Now they have to pay an amount of 20$ million in taxes in two years.
That’s the least damaging part of this whole scandal. The worst is that their brand image has been hurt, and consumers are outraged, and in this case, that’s something that’s very hard to fix. Starbucks also cut wages for their employees in order to decrease tax, and now they are boycotted all over the UK.