Last week, a mysterious email with the subject line ‘Integration Test Email #1’ from HBO Max’s official account landed in its subscribers’ inboxes, causing a great deal of confusion.
Just a few hours later, HBO Max tweeted an apology stating that the test email was allegedly sent out by an intern.
We mistakenly sent out an empty test email to a portion of our HBO Max mailing list this evening. We apologize for the inconvenience, and as the jokes pile in, yes, it was the intern. No, really. And we’re helping them through it. ❤️
— HBOMaxHelp (@HBOMaxHelp) June 18, 2021
Soon, people began tweeting supportive messages starting with ‘Dear intern’, sharing embarrassing stories about mistakes they made at all points in their careers.
From taking down Spotify, to sharing details about their menstrual cycle with the whole company, the thread is a gold-mine of goof-ups.
Dear Intern, I was using my desktop calendar to make a monthly note of when I started my menstrual period, but after several months I realized I was making that note on a calendar I shared with all of my colleagues company wide. I was 37 years old.
— Caissie (@Caissie) June 18, 2021
At my very first job I sent out a major corporation's press release 12 hours early and they had to reschedule a product launch. Their stock price dipped because of it. I was mortified at the time but now it's one of the coolest things I've ever done.
— wistful clown dog (@AttackDogButSad) June 18, 2021
I once didn’t recognize then-VP George HW Bush and almost didn’t let him into a meeting…in the Cabinet Room. Of The White House. Where he worked. 🤷🏼♀️
He was actually as gracious as HBO Max Help appears to be being…you’ll be fine.
— ͏Postcards4USA (@postcards4USA) June 18, 2021
You are my hero. Thank you for reminding us there is a human side behind these massive companies.
The human side of Apple
— Novall Swift (@NovallSwift) June 18, 2021
I once globally took down Spotify. It almost happened twice. My team was awesome about it and I'm still here. You managed to find something broken in the way integration tests are done. It's a good thing and will help improve things. Good luck <3.
— Daenney (@daenney) June 18, 2021
Dear Intern, as a young lawyer I proof read a legal brief and filed it with the court. I caught a typo and blindly used the global find and replace function. Pro tip: don't do that. My brief argued for the rights of "the panties." Not "the parties." All 50 pages of it. 🤦🏻♀️🩲🩲 https://t.co/PDJYMXuOlw
— Suzanne Lovett (@sdtlovett) June 18, 2021
Even Monica Lewinsky, who had an affair with the former US president Bill Clinton while she was an intern at the White House, tweeted in support of the intern with some tongue-in-cheek advice.
it gets better.
ps. don’t wear a beret for awhile, k?
— Monica Lewinsky (she/her) (@MonicaLewinsky) June 18, 2021
She refers to an image of her standing next to the president wearing a beret that was splashed across every tabloid when the scandal broke out.
Snickers jumped in to offer comfort too.
Can we send them a Snickers? #rookiemistake
— SNICKERS (@SNICKERS) June 18, 2021
Whether the email was actually sent out by an intern or not, this became a great marketing moment for the streaming platform, and also a masterclass in how to apologise after an error.
While many companies would do nothing in such a situation, by fessing up right away and admitting to the mistake, HBO Max won thousands of hearts, if not millions.