Gartner Blog Network

A Run in Burger King’s Pantyhose

by Jenny Sussin  |  February 20, 2013  |  2 Comments

This morning I was talking to my colleague Gene Alvarez about embarrassing things that have happened in work environments. Stains on shirts, mismatching socks and as I explained to Gene, a run in my pantyhose.

Men will never quite understand a run in the pantyhose. As women, we go through tens of pairs of pantyhose a year as they constantly rip but are the only acceptable garment for pairing with a dress or skirt. We know when we buy the ‘hose that they’re going to rip. Every morning you put on a pair of pantyhose it’s a gamble. “Will they rip today?” You come to close to some velcro, sit on a seat the wrong way, and they’re gone.


But the reason it’s so embarrassing, the run in the pantyhose, is because you never notice right away. You’ve been walking around with the run for an hour, talking to other people, when all of the sudden you look and see. No one told you, they all noticed but they all figured you knew and were trying to be polite.

Where is this going, Sussin?

Burger King had a run in their pantyhose on Monday and now something is up with Jeep. I feel for the social media managers. I mean,¬†MTV faked a run in their pantyhose (the trashy girl Halloween costume) and ostensibly had fun at BK’s expense. Well listen up MTV, no one wants to walk around with a run in their ‘hose!


All social media managers and all business leaders know there is some sort of risk to having all of their communications be so public, real-time and accessible. They also know there is a reward. They want to cover up their legs while wearing a dress. They have to! But they also recognize their is the risk of an unnoticed run. So ladies, social media managers, does the risk of a run outweigh the reward of proper dress versus bare legs and no social media presence?

Personally, I’d rather have the run in my ‘hose. It has happened to me before. Jumping analogies let me be clear, I have had a run in my ‘hose, I have never had my Twitter account hacked. But let’s talk damages now. What actually happened as a result of the BK account being taken over and singing the praises of McDonalds?

  1. Publicity happened. ¬†Sure BK had a little egg on their face because it took them over an hour to do anything about the hacked account, but did they lose any business? No. Are people talking about Burger King? Absolutely. Has it impacted BK sales favorably? I’d bet not, but the bottom line is it didn’t hurt them and now more people are bothering to tlak about BK than they did before.
  2. Competitors showed their humanity. Did McDonald’s jump on the opportunity to say, “hey look, even Burger King likes us?” No. They did the opposite actually and expressed their sympathies for the situation. In a political and competitive world, to me that was a refreshing sentiment.
  3. We more publicly entered into the risk versus reward conversation. Clients ask us all of the time if the data privacy and security risk is worth it when contemplating a social for CRM strategy. So I ask, is the potential for a run in your pantyhose, worth the reward of cost savings on marketing campaign impressions? The increased revenue from coupon-holders entering your establishment after opting in to a Facebook deal? Do you know what the reward even is?

I’m sorry for Burger King’s social media manager, and Jeep’s, but I’m sort of happy this happened because now I want to challenge everyone reading this post. Do you know what you’re trying to accomplish with social? If it’s CRM, what are your marketing, sales and service objectives? How are you determining if you’ve been successful? And hey, what are the risks associated with what you’re doing OR not doing? If Burger King didn’t have an official Twitter handle, you can bet someone else would have created a mock one for them.

Two things to think about and comment on if you would:

  • If you were Burger King’s social media manager, what would you have done differently?
  • Have you (honestly) bothered to draw up a risk vs. reward scenario for your social presence?

The grammatical and spelling errors in this post…I know.


Category: customer-service  marketing  social-crm  social-media  

Tags: gartner360  cool  customer  customer-service  customer360  facebook  marketing  media  scrm  social  social-crm  social-media  socialcrm  twitter  

Jenny Sussin
Research Director
6 years with Gartner
7 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a Research Director in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on A Run in Burger King’s Pantyhose

  1. Yolanda says:

    Informative article, totally what I needed.

  2. Kiersten says:

    Fall on your sword BK and then redeem yourself by sharing your social strategy with your consumers ( Which will force you to have one) and then check in with them in a ” hey are we getting this right finally” kinda way…..a good social strategy makes corporate more human and we all know humans aren’t perfect

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.