When we think of ‘bloopers’, images of actors fluffing their lines or falling over on set usually come to mind. But, the marketing world sees its fair share of bloopers—errors of judgment that can have a devastating impact on brand reputation.
A marketing blooper not only results in reputational setbacks but it can also seriously drain your promotional budgets. Misplaced messaging, poor campaign strategies, ill-advised imagery, and investments in the wrong channels are among the most common marketing bloopers brands make.
1. Burger King’s whopping marketing flop
As you can see, the above apology Tweet from fast food. Colossus Burger King earned droves of engagement—for all the wrong reasons.
The culinary industry is indeed male dominated and while the sentiment of changing things for the greater good was at the heart of the campaign, it was buried deeper than a slice of pickle in a giant burger stack.
When you’re developing your marketing campaign messaging for a specific event or celebration:
- Share your ideas and content with relevant audiences internally
- Gather feedback before signing off
- Avoid copy that is overly controversial
- Choose language, imagery or concepts very carefully
- Use your message to empower your audience, not create a sense of alienation.
Remember, not all publicity is good publicity.
Tip: Consider using a Social Media Style Guide to ensure everyone on your team and working with your brand knows the agreed tone of voice and adapts messaging to all relevant platforms.
2. Snickers advertising campaign fail
Snickers Spain found itself in reputational hot water this year when it released a misguided video ad using one of the brand’s staple taglines ‘you’re not yourself when you’re hungry.’
There’s nothing wrong with the tagline itself (in fact, it’s a solid piece of copywriting), but the context in which it was used sparked droves of unwanted engagement.
The ad shows influencer Aless Gibaja transforming into what Snicker’s depicts as a ‘manly man’ after eating a Snickers bar. This homophobic narrative that suggests being efffeminate is bad earned top-level negative publicity almost immediately after the campaign’s launch.
Even Spain’s equality minister, Irene Montero, publically Thailand Phone Number panned the ad with a Tweet that read:
“Our society is diverse and tolerant. Hopefully those who have the power to make decisions about what we see and hear in commercials and TV shows will learn to be too.”
When political parties and figures are seen to criticize your marketing campaign, you’re likely to lose large segments of your target audience as well as existing brand advocates, even if you do issue a full and frank apology.
Before working with influencers, make sure that they are relevant to your niche or industry and work in close collaboration with them to ensure they’re comfortable with your messaging. Building strong influencer relationships is advised, as is steering clear of controversial ad ideas without any wit or substance—as it almost never ends well.
3. Timothy’s World Coffee’s prize promise mishap
Last but certainly not least in our selection of marketing blunders. In addition, we have an infamous example of an earlier fail. By Timothy’s World Coffee. In addition, a well-established brand that is however still trying to redeem itself from this blooper.
To extend its social media reach, the brand offered its existing and prospective fans. A coupon or free sample for following them on social media. A typical effective engagement and loyalty-boosting tactic..
Unfortunately, Timothy’s World Coffee offered more than it could deliver. In addition, and ran out of its supply of free K-cup packs in a mere three days. A full two weeks after its embarrassing blooper (that’s a fairly sizable silence). Timothy’s published a public message stating that they issued the coupons. And samples were issu on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis. While this statement may have proved. Palatable to its consumers immediately after the event. In addition, the communication’s delay sparked outrage. Digging the brand further into a promotional hole.