To be truly successful, you must be capable of learning from failure and not just your own. Paying attention to what the people around you are doing wrong is a great way to avoid making those mistakes yourself.
Marketing is certainly no exception to that rule. And though the year is almost half over, we’ve already seen plenty of bungles and blunders from big brands. Here are a few of our favorites, along with their takeaways.
The Cost of “Free”
The Blunder: Usually, a campaign is considered a resounding success when it goes viral. For one Domino’s chain in Russia, however, it spelled disaster. Some remarkably ill-informed individual dreamed up a campaign called “Domino’s Forever.”
The concept was simple. Get a tattoo promoting Domino’s Pizza, and you’ll receive a certificate for 100 free pizzas for 100 years. As it turned out, the people behind the promotion greatly underestimated how far their fans were willing to go for free food.
They swiftly ended the promotion after 381 people inked themselves. In case you were wondering, that’s a total of 38,100 free pizzas per year. The jury is still out on whether the brand awareness generated by the campaign is worth that much, but we’re going to say it probably isn’t.
The Lesson: Know your audience. Also, never underestimate how far your customers are willing to go to get free stuff. Because they’ll always go farther than you’d expect.
Not So Motivational
The Blunder: In April, Chase Bank tried to hijack the Monday Motivation Hashtag with some “advice” on how they could save money … in the most condescending way possible. Unsurprisingly, people weren’t exactly pleased with their tone-deaf attempt at outreach. After being flayed by several prominent public figures, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, the bank deleted the original tweet and sent out an apology … sort of:
“Our #MondayMotivation is to get better at #MondayMotivation tweets,” it reads. “Thanks for the feedback Twitter world.”
If you ask us, they still missed the point.
The Lesson: Do your research. Understand your market and your audience’s sentiment. Even a bit of cursory effort by the people running Chase Bank’s social media account would have been enough to know not only that the initial tweet was a bad idea, but why.
Pitching A Fit
The Blunder: If you have been paying any attention to gaming industry news, you have likely heard about Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. To call the man polarizing would be something of an understatement. Over the course of the past six months alone, he has:
- Jokingly tweeted a video of animal abuse.
- Allegedly “Rage Fired” voice actor David Eddings.
- Reportedly physically assaulted voice actor David Eddings.
- Raged about the Eddings situation on Twitter.
- Talked, at length, about his porn watching habits on a podcast.
Basically, he’s a walking public relations nightmare, and no one seems to be doing anything about it.
The Lesson: No matter how well-organized your marketing department, all your efforts to foster goodwill can be derailed by a single out of control executive. Your business absolutely needs guidelines around what’s acceptable for both general employees and leadership on social media, with clear penalties for bad behavior.
Market research. Audience awareness. PR guidelines. These are critical components of any successful marketing or ad campaign. Without them, you might well be the next brand to make a list like this one.