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Llanfairpwll

Snickers apologises after mocking Welsh language on Twitter

Llanfairpwll

Snickers apologises after mocking Welsh language on Twitter

What was supposed to be an entertaining quiz on the Snickers UK Twitter page ended up with an apology from the company, following accusations of bigotry and Cymrophobia (negative attitudes towards the Welsh).

In tweets that have since been deleted, the official UK page for the Mars-owned confectionary snack ran a game yesterday called ‘A place in Wales or someone sat on a keyboard?’, challenging followers to guess whether or not suggested place names were genuine towns. Entries included ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyll’ (genuine as it’s the shortened form of the UK’s longest place name – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch) and ‘Rhosullanrugog’ (false, although it bears a resemblance to Rhosllanerchrugog near Wrexham).

The quiz didn’t go down too well with all its viewers, however. A producer for the Welsh broadcaster S4C, Dan Jardine, suggested Snickers should ‘Take a lesson in the Welsh language and culture’. The game was also labelled ‘bigoted’ by a user called New Cymru, and Jac Jolly replied with “Cymrophobic people and companies like @SNICKERSUK threaten [Welsh language’s] survival”.

Though some other Twitter users, including Welshmen, commented that they found the tweets funny and harmless, Snickers wiped them and the account currently has a pinned tweet apologising for the “misjudged” and “ill-informed” capers, stressing its appreciation for customers and fans in Wales.

Whether the game was offensive or not, questions could be asked of the wisdom of playing on the perception of a UK language being garbled and unpronounceable. This is compounded by the fact that it has no connection to the product, although a look at the Snickers UK Twitter page shows that light-hearted questions are a regular occurrence, with recent ones including what you would spend your money on if you had no bills, responsibility or shame.

The incident reminds us that tweets should be carefully considered and on-brand, and companies who want to be a little offbeat and irreverent should think about whether that’s the image they want to portray. For advice on tailoring your content, including social media, speak to Engage Web today.

John Murray
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