Social media is an essential asset for marketing, yet it can also become the ground of epic advertising mistakes. This article will expose 10 of the most amusing social media marketing fails and how we can take away lessons from them.
1. The Wendy’s Twitter Roast
Wendy’s is known for its snarky and witty social media presence. In 2017, they went viral with their Twitter roast of a user who challenged them to provide evidence of their beef being fresh. Wendy’s not only responded with evidence but also roasted the user in a way that left the internet in stitches. Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to use humor and wit in your social media marketing.
2. Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner Ad
In 2017, Pepsi released an ad featuring Kendall Jenner that was widely criticized for trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement. The ad was quickly pulled, and Pepsi issued an apology.
Lesson learned: Be mindful of sensitive social and political issues, and don’t try to capitalize on them in a way that could come across as tone-deaf.
3.DiGiorno’s #WhyIStayed Tweet
In 2014, DiGiorno tweeted the hashtag #WhyIStayed, not realizing that it was a sensitive topic related to domestic violence. The tweet was quickly deleted, and DiGiorno apologized.
Lesson learned: Do your research before using hashtags or jumping on a trending topic.
4. IHOP’s Mother’s Day Tweet
In 2015, IHOP tweeted a Mother’s Day message that included a crude joke about pancakes being better than mothers. The tweet was met with backlash, and IHOP quickly deleted it and issued an apology.
Lesson learned: Be respectful and thoughtful in your messaging, especially on holidays and special occasions.
5. McDonald’s “We Want to See Your McD’s Moments” Campaign
In 2012, McDonald’s launched a campaign asking customers to share their positive experiences with the brand on Twitter using the hashtag #McDStories. However, the hashtag was quickly hijacked by customers sharing negative experiences, and the campaign backfired.
Lesson learned: Be prepared for negative feedback and have a crisis management plan in place.
6. American Apparel’s Hurricane Sandy Sale
In 2012, American Apparel ran a Hurricane Sandy sale, offering a 20% discount to customers affected by the storm. Many criticized the sale as insensitive and exploitative.
Lesson learned: Be sensitive to current events and avoid marketing campaigns that could come across as exploitative.
7. Target’s Photoshop Fail
In 2014, Target was criticized for a Photoshop fail in which a model’s thigh gap was exaggerated to the point of being physically impossible. The brand quickly removed the image and apologized.
Lesson learned: Be mindful of unrealistic beauty standards and avoid using excessive Photoshop in your marketing materials.
8. SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor Tweet
In 2013, SpaghettiOs tweeted a picture of its mascot holding an American flag with the caption, “Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us.” The tweet was widely criticized as being inappropriate and insensitive.
Lesson learned: Be mindful of the tone and messaging of your marketing, especially when it comes to sensitive historical events.
Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes
While these marketing fails are certainly entertaining, they also serve as important lessons for marketers. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things, but always be mindful of the potential consequences and have a crisis management plan in place. And when mistakes do happen, own up to them, apologize, and learn from them.
Social media marketing can be a tricky business, but by taking the lessons learned from these hilarious marketing fails, you can avoid making similar mistakes and create a successful social media strategy that engages your audience in a positive way.