Rogue HMV Employee, Poppy Rose: Brave, Stupid or Clever?

Rogue HMV Employee, Poppy Rose: Brave, Stupid or Clever?

By | January 31, 2013 at 7:47 pm | 4 comments | Social Media

If you were nowhere near Twitter today, then you missed an important lesson in how Social Media can truly impact the day-to-day lives of everyone.

Today, the official HMV account – @HMVTweets – was taken under the sole ownership of Poppy Rose, the Online Marketing & Social Media Planner at HMV to announce live what exactly was happening at the ailing high-street and online retailer.

HMV Tweets #hmvXFactorFiring

HMV Tweets #hmvXFactorFiring

Twitter literally exploded with this news and within 30 minutes of the tweets being made, the official Twitter account amassed thousands of new users and the hashtag used (#HMVXFactorFiring) was the third most trending topic worldwide.

It also brought about the #FailWhale – something not seen for a very long time since Twitter improved their server infrastructure.

Poppy Rose’s Reasoning?

Essentially, Poppy Rose was pissed at how badly HMV had performed within the Social Media spectrum. Senior management, according to Poppy Rose, simply did not value Social Media. She also felt that she had to speak out. Split over several tweets, Poppy Rose said:

Just to set something straight, I did not ‘hijack’ the hmv twitter account. I actually assumed sole responsibility of Twitter & Facebook over two years ago, as an intern. When asked (this afternoon), I gladly provided the password to head office. I also set another member of staff up as a manager on Facebook, and removed myself from the admin list. I didn’t resist any requests to cooperate.

Since my internship started, I worked tirelessly to educate the business of the importance of Social Media – not as a short-term commercial tool, but as a tool to build and strengthen the customer relationship, and to gain invaluable real-time feedback from the consumers that have kept us going for over 91 years. While many colleagues understood and supported this, it was the more senior members of staff who never seemed to grasp its importance.

I hoped that today’s actions would finally show them the true power and importance of Social Media, and I hope they’re finally listening. 

Was Poppy Rose Brave?

Personally, I think she was very brave. She was about to be sacked from a company she quite clearly loved and was proud to work for. Poppy also felt the need to tell the correct version of events. Remember, HMV staff were under contract to not divulge what was happening “behind closed doors” whilst the appointed administrators, Deloitte, were assessing the stricken businesses assets and trying to figure out if the business could be saved.

Poppy was certainly very brave to not only voice her opinions, but to do it via the official HMV account, that took some major guts. It was certainly the finest podium to voice her concerns.

Was Poppy Rose Stupid?

Again, personally, I think Poppy may have done herself a little bit of harm. Yes, she’s shown she has guts but she has also shown that when faced with the capabilities, she is a potentially disruptive voice.

I don’t doubt she will now be noticed in the Social Media sphere as a saint, a woman of ethic and pride, but she will also be remembered as the one who might get out of control when the chips are down.

I know a few companies who would not be comfortable of having Poppy Rose in charge of their social media accounts on the off chance things go wrong and Poppy goes rogue.

Was Poppy Rose Clever?

I highly doubt that her intention was to utilise the HMV Twitter account for her own ends, but I think Poppy has inadvertently got herself noticed as a passionate social market whose sole aim was to get users interacting with her brand.

It’s such a shame that this passion was clearly not felt by senior management as this has been a fantastic case study for how Social Media can reach users.

Poppy Rose will no doubt be approached to speak at conferences, interviewed by newspapers and most certainly consulted on how to help secure social media accounts to stop brands suffering the same meltdown.


About the Author

Kev Strong

Kev Strong is an online marketing consultant at Newcastle Upon Tyne based digital marketing agency, Mediaworks. A lover of all things search and an ex-web developer, Kev Strong (a.k.a Goosh) is a specialist in advanced search engine optimisation.


  1. Emma (9 years ago)

    Good read Kev – personally this who HMV thing is one of my favourite stories at the moment – I was just thinking earlier this morning “I wonder who would trust her to work as head of social again?” – but hey, her tweets did gain an extra 3000 or so followers in the space of half an hour so she must have done something right!

  2. Brian Turner (9 years ago)

    “Was Poppy Rose Clever?”

    No, just desperate. And a commercial liability to any social media campaign.

    “her tweets did gain an extra 3000 or so followers”

    But without sales interest it’s a meaningless figure. People wanted to stare at a car wreck.

    “social media”

    Has moved from customer engagement to idle chatter for its own sake. Somehow this is supposed to be good.

  3. Rick Noel (9 years ago)

    Interesting story Kev. Now I know who was the root of the multiple #FailWhale that I encountered.

    It seems like this kind of behavior, while cathartic, could have negative career consequences.

    While I appreciate the guts show and one could see how the heat of the moment could lead to an emotional response, but not sure that long-term this helps her brand image, though the boost to brand awareness is undeniable.

    Best of luck to Poppy Rose, who with all that spunk, we will continue to hear more about.

  4. Kurt (9 years ago)

    It’s great that she outed them on social media.

    but it’s terrible for her own career. good luck getting a job after being labeled a whistleblower.

    people need to think about the long term implications of posting stuff online.