When social snark goes too far

Marketing the solar eclipse, you won't believe who's doing the short-video thing now, and more...

Happy Monday!

I’m currently based in Australia, so unfortunately I was unable to participate in the solar eclipse that occurred last week. I did enjoy this marketing tie-in from MoonPie as some form of consolation. I didn’t go so far as to stream Bonnie Tyler’s song Total Eclipse of the Heart, but apparently a lot of people used it to get into the mood on the day, with the song being the second most purchased song on iTunes. Warby Parker meanwhile used the event to cleverly promote its brand with free eclipse glasses provided to customers at their stores but also at schools, Delta lounges, and public observation areas.

P.S. Read to the end to find out who’s belatedly jumping on the short-video bandwagon, and all the best reporting and resources from last week!

For anyone with us for the first time, welcome to Inbound News! Just 10-15 minutes every Monday to catch up on the previous week. I cover the stories that matter with smart analysis and resources to help make sense of all the noise. But always with a healthy dose of skepticism and self-awareness. 😉 

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👍️ Social media

Dbrand crossed the line and people let them know it

Dbrand is one of those brands that portrays a snarky personality on their social media. But they went too far when a customer named Bhuwan Chitransh tweeted that their MacBook skin was showing dirt after just a couple months of use. Dbrand initially provided a quite helpful and reasonable response. Someone from their social media team must have thought the response was too bland, or perhaps they just thought they had comedy gold, because seven minutes later they tweeted again, but this time with a racist comment about his surname.

While the post did receive thousands of likes, which is not a surprise to anyone paying attention to the transition of Twitter to X, plenty of people did take the time to comment how racist the response was. Including Bhuwan himself, who flagged it with the PM of India amongst others. The ‘wisdom’ of the crowd on Reddit meanwhile was somewhat mixed, with some defending the brand on the Dbrand subreddit as responses like these are “kinda their whole marketing thing.”

Some 24 hours later, Dbrand eventually tweeted again that they had apologised to Bhuwan and offered him $10,000 “as a gesture of goodwill.” But they also said they were just making fun of a guy’s name and will continue to poke fun at customers on social media. Because it evidently is their whole marketing thing. They also left the offending tweet stay published as evidence of their intentions.

That was until YouTuber MKBHD (Marques Brownlee) stepped up and tweeted that he was refusing to work with Dbrand until they at least deleted the tweet, which they have now done. But he also pointed out what he was really looking for was some reflection on the part of Dbrand for them to understand the unnecessary harm they had caused after their initial underwhelming apology.

Because of the cesspool that X has become, and the mixed responses evidenced on Reddit, it will be interesting to see whether Dbrand does understand this reflection is necessary for their brand to thrive long term. Let’s hope they develop guidelines for their team to make sure they make fun of people without insulting them. Perhaps making fun of themselves when they get it wrong would work, too?

Sorry Apology GIF by Adult Swim

Nope! Source: Giphy

⚡️ Social media quick bites

Meta (Facebook / Instagram / Threads)


X (formerly Twitter)


  • Scammers are using an AI-generated Elon Musk to promote a supposed SpaceX eclipse event on YouTube videos to steal people’s crypto.

  • Several shopping features were released, including Shopping Collections, an Affiliate Hub, and tagging multiple videos at once.


💫 AI quick bites

✍️ The best reporting last week

Going viral by playing a game about influencers

Getting those clicks: Megan Farokhmanesh in Wired writes about the horror game Content Warning, a metanarrative about streamers trying to go viral.

Gen Z’s fading dream to become successful influencers

Human influencers are being replaced by AI: Clem de Pressigny examines in Business Insider whether this is actually a good thing.

How tech giants cut corners to harvest data for AI

Ignoring their own policies: The New York Times reveals the extreme lengths OpenAI, Google, and Meta went to exploit AI. [Free article]

Instagram AI influencers are using fake faces on real bodies

Making themselves seem more ‘believable’: Jason Koebler from 404Media exposes how these AI influencers are growing with stolen content.

British conservatives are deliberately bad at social media

Perhaps a cunning plan at work: Jon Elledge in PoliticsHome writes about the Tory party’s recent faux pax and their past history of social media campaigns.

🧠 Resources to level up

The best AI productivity tools

Tools to optimize how you work: Kirsti Lang from Buffer shares eight of the best AI tools she keeps coming back to so she can work smarter, not harder.

Avoiding digital course pitfalls

The lesser-known mistakes that can trip you up: Amy Porterfield shares on the HubSpot blog the seven biggest mistakes she’s made as a creator.

Prepare for Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Understand how to adapt: Jim Yu provides an overview of SGE and what you can do to get ready for its wider release for Content Marketing Institute.

Using images online legally

Don’t get caught out: Kristi Kellog from Search Engine Journal provides an essential guide to using images online without falling foul of the law.

How to market your brand like Steve Jobs

The strategy used to grow Apple: Jessica Wong explains in Entrepreneur the method Jobs used to help power Apple’s extraordinary success.

😲 Really?

Uber Eats joins the short-form video bandwagon

Just a bit late to the party: Uber Eats is apparently launching a short-form video feed “to boost discovery and help restaurants showcase their dishes.” It’s currently being tested in New York, San Francisco and Toronto, with plans to launch globally in the future. The idea is that the videos will inspire you to try something new as you can better see details like the food’s texture and portion size, and how they prepare the food for delivery.

While they could be handy details to see, surely photos can do that already? Assuming the restaurant has thought about highlighting these details at all, that is. Because the reverse is also true - they could also sway people the other way to not ordering from them. Which is perhaps why their photos don’t already highlight certain details. I’m not sure about you, but generally I only use apps like Uber Eats as a last resort. When I do, about the last thing I feel like doing is scrolling through an algorithm-fuelled feed of random food choices when I already know how to use filters to narrow my search before checking reviews. I’m not going to be swayed by their short-form videos over their reviews. Let me know if I’m completely wrong on this!

Thanks for reading! 😄 

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