In furniture, publishing, two companies learn Twitter responsibility

If the world learned anything from the Cartoon Network's infamous Boston bomb scare; the one in which "guerilla marketing" went bad with lighted signs meant to promote the Adult Swim programming, and instead caused an "army of emergency vehicles" and the resignation of network head Jim Samples; it is this: no matter how edgy are the fancy new-fangled marketing tools you're using to reach customers, it's still vital to manage one's message. And there is such a thing as bad PR.

Two companies, however, were sent back to repeat Managing Newfangled Marketing Methods 101 this week. One was almost understandable; the other was shameful. Let's do shameful first, shall we? Not only did British furniture company Habitat get hammered by Twitter users for its "fail" in trying to market a chance to win a £1,000 gift card by hijacking Twitter tags connected to iPhones and the Iran elections; but it also was deemed "two visits from the fail whale" when the company blamed -- and then dismissed -- an intern for the problem.

Here's lesson #1 for utilizing viral marketing methods: don't give an intern, or any young/unseasoned associate, all the power.