In December, megabrand Heinz discovered an impersonator on Twitter: one @hj_heinz. The mystery hijacker had Heinz ketchup bottles for a Twitter background and had been sharing ketchup-related recipes and company tidbits with Heinz lovers in the Twittersphere.
The account had been running for two weeks when Heinz discovered it. Heinz immediately contacted Twitter and had the account stripped (subscription required) of any suggestion the user was associated with the brand.
The next time Michael Werch, the account owner, logged in, he found that his background and bio had been removed and his username had been changed to @NOThj_heinz. No explanation was provided except for a generic message from Twitter saying he'd violated its trademark policy.
Werch, who is an avid Heinz lover, was surprised and upset. He contacted Twitter and offered to work things out with a Heinz representative. He got no response, which was a big mistake.
In February, AdAge.com gave him the opportunity to recount his side of the story—which was then picked up by All Things Digital, BusinessWeek, and countless blogs. Moreover, he revealed to his Twitter followers that he wasn't a Heinz representative, and they encouraged him to continue what he was doing.
The follower count for NOThj_heinz has more than doubled since the incident; people seem to like what he has to share, even if he's not a bona fide Heinz employee.
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