Ketchum employee’s Tweet causes client controversy

MEMPHIS, TN: A Tweet by a Ketchum staffer that was visiting agency client FedEx in its hometown prompted an angry memo that reached executives on both sides and the blogosphere.

A Twitter post made by the screen name “keyinfluencer,” which lists James Andrews, VP, director of interactive at Ketchum, as its owner, made the “true confession” that “I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say ‘I would die if I had to live here!’”

An employee of FedEx then wrote a letter to both FedEx and Ketchum leadership that said the comment was “inappropriate” and they were “confident” that “it is enough to expect a greater level of respect and awareness from someone in your position as a vice president at a major global player in your industry.” The memo was posted on the blog of Peter Shankman.

“This is an unfortunate situation and demonstrates very poor judgment by Mr. Andrews,” wrote FedEx, in a statement e-mailed to PRWeek. “The reaction by our employees proves once again that FedEx takes great pride in our hometown of Memphis.

“This lapse in judgment also demonstrates the need to apply fundamental communications principles in the evolving social-networking environment: Think before you speak; be careful of you what you say and how you say it,” the statement continues.

Ketchum also called the incident a “lapse in judgment,” in a statement. “We’ve apologized to our client… We greatly value this long standing client relationship. It is our privilege to work with them,” the Ketchum statement read.

In later Twitter postings, the “keyinfluencer” said he was “Having a great day with my new friends at #Fedex” and apologized. He also posted an apology to his blog.

FedEx concluded that “Mr. Andrews made a mistake, and he has apologized. We are moving on.”