Top 10 Social Media Marketing Fails
By Manish Kumar
Social media marketing is a dominant mode of marketing now. Major brands are now inclining towards social media marketing to build brand awareness among a wider range of consumers. People, who have a creditable social media presence, are being approached by brands to give a shout out to their products and the method is called influencer marketing. Social media is an indispensable part of our lifestyle now. Between our tight work schedules, we quickly scroll into our social media newsfeeds every few minutes to check what our friends are up to. It is not only a stress-buster but also we acquire a multitude of knowledge from it. Brands too are privy of our social media addiction and hence they see it as an opportunity to grow their business. But then, the brands that have the most fertile minds behind their marketing ventures are not exempt from goof-ups.
Some glaring marketing mistakes and inappropriate content have also subjected them to criticism. The foremost requirement to build an envious brand presence is to create meaningful and engaging content tailored with pertinent visuals. You might have also seen brand names popping when you are mindlessly scrolling your social media feed; it’s only natural for many brands to exploit your social media addiction to thrive in their business. To acquire the increased understanding of social media marketing, brands too have to go through many tribulations. As social media marketing gives a brand wider visibility, every typo or bad meme leads to a few chuckles at their expense when social media trolling has risen to its highest potential. People now can chip away at anybody else’s image remorselessly as social media has empowered them to do so.
Manish Kumar, a Senior SMO services expert at Tangensys has suggested the brands to understand the digital technology first before attempting to exploit new ways to use the digital platform for reaching out to the customers. The digital ad campaigns should be the matrimony between innovation and technology backed by strong and engaging content.
There are many such instances when the brands have gone though troublesome times for their marketing strategy gone wrong. The marketing blooper has reflected adversely on the company’s earnings too and here we are listing down the top 10 miserable social media marketing failures to prevent you from repeating the errors. Read on below:
When negative publicity of Snapchat had cost it millions:
Back in February, the famous American media personality and businesswoman Kylie Jenner has tweeted “Anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” Although it seemed like an innocent query hurled at her followers, Snapchat had to bear the brunt real bad. Even the most regular users left the platform after the tweet surfaced causing Snapchat a staggering $1.3 billion loss. Their miseries didn’t end there; the leaving users were followed by more people all over the world leading to $650 million more loss for Snapchat. The incident started with a simple ad of a game: “Would you rather?” The aim of the game was to engage more people and get them to ask or answer some harmless questions. However, the questions the users chose were rather controversial and that left Snapchat in a bad soup. They were like - “Would you rather slap Rihanna?” or “Punch Chris Brown?” This invited immediate backlash from the celebrities in question and Rihanna would not accept Snapchat’s apology. Sadly, the ad which was created by a third party app, smeared the brand image of Snapchat.
When Lockheed Martin was flayed by the Twiterratis:
Lockheed Martin is one of the renowned arms manufacturers of the world. It is also a top American defense contractor which became a prey to severe social media backlash when the company asked its followers to share “an amazing photo of one of our products” for #Worldphotoday. They intended to exhibit the photo shared by the followers in their upcoming #WorldPhotoDay celebration on August, 19 but things weren’t hunky dory. It started with a user mockingly share a photo of a grenade’s fragment which destroyed a school in Yemen. Other pictures that followed suit, contained images of some bloodied backpacks of the children that never returned home as a Lockheed Martin bomb claimed their lives. Even though Lockheed Martin immediately removed the Tweet, the users kept bombarding their ire.
When Pepsi’s war again racism backfired:
What sounded creative in a board room didn’t do well for Pepsi in the marketing sphere. Pepsi’s was the arguably the worst marketing fail of the year as they have used the sensitive social issue of ‘Black lives matter’ to expand their acceptance. In the advertisement, their product looked anything but a culturally unifying product. The advertisement featuring Kendel Jenner was ridiculed on social media for trying to neutralize grievous issues like racism and police brutality.
When Dove’s body positivity agenda looked fake:
Dove had been running a body positivity campaign for a long time and it was understood to be a spectacular success until they have introduced a series of bottles representing diverse female bodies. Women with the heavier bodies were forced to select the abstract, shapeless soap bottles which sparked a fury. It became a point of discussion and mockery thus jeopardizing the brand image.
When Dove’s message was misunderstood:
In another ad campaign, still recalled as the ‘racist Dove ad, Dove posted on Facebook a four panel image showing a young African-American woman removing her tee shirt where the fourth panel shows a young white woman. Although Dove claimed that they wanted to show the diversity of real beauty but the Twiterratis took their claim with a grain of salt.
When Walkers didn’t prevent offensive submissions:
An ad campaign turned into a nightmare for Walkers when it asked its consumers to submit selfies to get an opportunity to win a ticket to a major sporting event waiting round the corner. Sadly, people submitted selfies of dictators, serial killers and criminals, inviting an irksome time for the company to audit.
When McDonald’s ad seemed gross:
Brands are susceptible to bad marketing ideas and McDonald’s too wasn’t spared. Fast food is a favorite of everyone but a cringeworthy advertisement can still lead your brand in shambles. In one of their ad spots, a young boy was seen talking to his mother about his dead father. Turned out, their common favorite was the filet-o-fish sandwich. The haters immediately flayed McDonald’s for exploiting grief to sell their product. Of course, their storytelling was in bad taste.
When things heated up between Wendy’s and Twiterratis:
Wendy’s picked up a spat with customers on whether they use fresh beef. The brawl started in a lighter note but subsequently escalated followed by Wendy’s posting an image reading - ‘No big deal right?’ But, it was not a sweet compensation as it was meant to seem. They posted an image of ‘Pepe the frog’ which was used by the white supremacists in the U.S Presidential election. Intentional or not, Wendy’s pulled out the meme soon after from Twitter but not before screenshots were taken. Wendy’s attracted a lot of jibes from consumers as much as the screenshots circulated. It was indeed a bad damage done to their brand.
When Ford washed their hand in the flowing stream:
In the year when the misdemeanor of Harvey Winstein shook the social media, Ford released an ad spot which featured three women being bound, gagged and stuffed in the trunk of their new hunchback. Insensitive as it was, the ad was pulled off instantly, minutes after falling in the public view. Ford had also issued a public apology for having encouraged violence against women.
When Sony’s intentions too were called into question:
In a print ad featuring the Sony’s white PlayStation device which surfaced in the year 2006, Sony decided to promote their new product in a morally non-acceptable way. In the ad, a pale woman with white hair was seen knocking a black woman down by her face. The white figure was portrayed as upset and furious whilst the black looked submissive.
The text that came tailored had condensed the viewer’s speculation. It read - “PlayStation portable. White is coming.” After Sony received a heated backlash after the release of the ad, it issued a public apology saying - “the images that were used in the campaign were intended solely to highlight the contrast between the different colors available for the PSP.” However, the dust didn’t settle soon, even after rendering an apology.
Manish Kumar is a digital marketer by profession and an avid blogger in free time. He is gifted with good observational skills which makes him a potent writer. Currently he is working with a digital marketing agency - Tangensys. In his 6 years digital marketing career, he had helped many brands to grow digitally.
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