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Twitter Trolls Abuse Hyundai’s #BecauseFootball Hashtag, Question Sport’s Pristine Reputation

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Twitter Trolls Abuse Hyundai's #BecauseFootball Hashtag man in car meme

Automakers, like many corporations these days, use social media as a way of advertising to today’s consumers. Campaigns meant to stir interest and create buzz often involve a hashtag. Unfortunately, regardless of how well-meaning the campaign might be, social media’s trolls are always lurking.

Hyundai–wanting to promote its NFL sponsorship and having a successful track record with its #ThisIsLoyalty campaign for college football–decided to add another hashtag to its repertoire: #BecauseFootball. This new hashtag was derived from the automaker’s highly successful #BecauseFutbol campaign during the 2014 FIFA World Cup–a move which garnered “36% share of voice against other top branded hashtags.”

#BecauseFootball hasn’t received the same love.

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Although Hyundai’s #BecauseFootball hashtag was intended to celebrate the sport and the professional American league, cynics on Twitter and other channels have been hijacking it to express their own frustrations.

Hyundai USA’s tweets using the #BecauseFootball hashtag have involved big screen TVs, snack food, and team loyalty. On the other hand, disgruntled fan tweets have mentioned the injuries, domestic abuse, drug use, and de-funding of the arts/social programs associated with football and professional sports. Ouch.

Some might see the hashtag as a natural magnet for criticism, as #BecauseFootball could suggest football being a valid excuse for any behavior. But its misuse is not a reaction toward Hyundai (which has been gaining fans) but rather of the NFL’s handling of controversial issues and the sport’s violent impact on players (no concussion pun intended).

It’s a good thing the 2014 World Cup took place when it did, or else #BecauseFutbol might have been commandeered to criticize FIFA’s corrupt officials: “Two generations of multi-million dollar bribes #BecauseFutbol.”

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