A Beluga Whale of a Mistake

Broadcasting digitally is fraught with the potential for mistakes, and one organization, DoSomething.org, recently made a “beluga whale of a mistake,” as it said. The organization, which works with young people on social campaigns, accidentally sent a text message to 2.1 million of its members that said:

Hey Can-tributer! Together you donated 510,543 items! Wow! Want to meet Jewish teens who make a difference like u? You can w/ BBYO! Visit bbyo.org/partne…

The text was supposed to only go to about 4,000 Jewish members. Nearly 12,000 people responded. Most were confused. Some were offended, and some sent racist comments.

The organization turned its beluga whale of a mistake into a positive and engaging experience with this reply from one of its staff members:

Alysha here. Proof I’m human: I messed up & sent u a text about being Jewish. To say sorry, I made you an “I F’d Up” playlist. Listen here: http://doso.me/2p

The playlist included songs, like “Apologize” and Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time.” One in three of the people who received it, clicked through to listen. As the organization noted in its blog post, it wanted to give something of value — at least entertainment value — to the people it may have offended. Given that its audience is people 25 and younger, a playlist was perfectly attuned to the very audience it needed to reach.

DoSomething.org quickly and effectively devised a simple and elegant solution to this mistake that could overcome the anger triggered by its original text and leave recipients with a smile on their faces and a song in their hearts.

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