It’s a sight that makes you cringe and cower behind your hands as you elicit the only words that come to mind.
Ohhh no. Oh no oh no oh no.
It’s the monstrous marketing plan that’s gone horribly wrong. The kind of marketing move that makes you wonder how something of that nature ever got the stamp of approval in the first place. But it happened, and it will continue to happen unless we learn from the mistakes of our predecessors.
So sit back and grab your popcorn and security blanket as we take a look at some frightening examples of marketing faux pas.
Insensitive/Irrelevant Social Media
I must admit that there are too many worthy ones to choose from. Should we go with Kenneth Cole’s ridiculous attempt to connect turmoil in Cairo with the launch of his brand’s new spring collection? Or the brands that used 9/11 as a chance to promote its name (AT&T)? What about those who feel the need to partake in every trending #conversation on Twitter, as we most recently saw with the airing of the Breaking Bad finale? Take your pick.
Awful and cheesy, like an old-school horror flick. Sometimes silence is the best approach of all.
Leaving Marketing to the People
Getting a hashtag trending on Twitter is a pretty cool feat for a brand. Unless you’re McDonalds. During an attempt to get tweeters to share fun and assumingly positive tidbits about Mickey D’s under the hashtag #McDStories, the public decided to take a different path. Not only did people jump on the opportunity to take hits at the company for its questionable food products, but PETA also got involved in the matter, accusing them of using mechanically separated white meat. And naturally, a Tweet-battle ensued as a result.
And then there’s Chevrolet. To promote a new Tahoe model, the popular automobile company decided to give the public the chance to take existing video clips and music and add their own words to create a unique 30-second commercial. And of course, the public used their power to poke fun at the vehicle with witty, critical text such as “$70 to fill up the tank,” “Say hello to global warming,” and “To hell with energy efficiency.” Not exactly the kind of copy Chevy’s marketers would have thought of, but any publicity is good publicity, right? Wrong.
Neglecting the Target Audience
Way back when in 2010, Gap unveiled a brand spankin’ new logo. And everyone hated it. Not only was the logo a sore sight to behold, it was also designed to appeal to a “hip crowd” and completely neglected its target audience. Turns out, Gap’s loyal customers felt the brand was changing for the worse and raised a major uproar. Gap reinstated the original logo two days later.
Offending the Audience
To promote its latest car model, Hyundai released a commercial featuring a man who appeared to be attempting suicide in his Hyundai car. Towards the last ten seconds of the commercial, a line of text appears that says the car releases 100 percent water emissions and the man walks away joyfully. Too bad the concept of making light of something as serious as suicide didn’t resonate as funny among viewers. Face-palm.