With Halloween just around the corner we have been discussing the things that send a chill down our spine, one such item being the ghastly errors of content marketing that come back to haunt companies operating in the digital sphere.
In an age where digital marketing places a premium on content marketing to benefit both search engines and the end user, the techniques and methodology deployed to develop and execute this discipline are under more scrutiny than ever to get right.
When a campaign goes beyond expectations – whether the goal is to achieve brand awareness, customer education or leads – it sets a fine example for the industry to sit up and learn from.
Not all content marketing campaigns are carried out to a T; many horror stories can testify to that. Indago Digital has rounded up a series of faux pas from recent high profile campaigns to help you avoid falling into the same trap when investing your time, money and resources into digital channels.
- Krispy Kreme: A social media scare-fest
The goal was simple: promote a series of planned events for school children during half term. The result was catastrophic. One UK Krispy Kreme franchise in the UK took to social media with an event called KKK Wednesday without considering the connotations of those three letters used in sequence.
The post was swiftly taken down but not before catching the eye of several key media influencers and an angry public mob. In a worst-case scenario reaction, people uploaded photoshopped images of Klu Klux Klan members with Krispy Kreme donuts to mock the brand for its insensitivity.
Research your brand material before you include it as part of a hero campaign as it may carry underlying messages that cause uproar.
- Reebok: Cold blooded murder of brand values
Reebok’s attempts to align itself with the ‘hip’ or ‘streetwise’ consumer has a long and chequered history, one moment that the brand will want to forget is the collaboration with rap celebrity 50 Cent, who endorsed a footwear launch through the medium of YouTube. The ad (now removed) featured 50 Cent referring to being shot 9 times.
Needless to say, the content breached guidelines in its alleged glorification of deadly violence.
Mud sticks, so choose your themes carefully and understand the backgrounds and cultural context of influencers you are building your brand with.
- NYPD: When hashtags come back to haunt you
New York in 2014, the NYPD went forth with a public relations campaign to forge a closer relationship with local communities whilst demonstrating cops in a good light. Users were asked to post selfies with a police officer on Twitter – what could possibly go wrong?
Instead of the anticipated cheery photo gallery, the clear majority of uploads documented members of the public being harassed or abused. To put this in context, NYPD retweeted only 5 of the images from the user-generated campaign.
The lesson here is cover all angles to include a crisis management strategy to counteract the possibility of any media backlash. If you’re brave enough to invite opinions from social media, then expect the unexpected.
- Miracle Mattresses: Deadly sins of small business
No matter how badly you want your brand to be heard, don’t alienate and offend your customers by making rash decisions. Miracle Mattresses ignored this advice when it produced a promotion to celebrate ‘falling’ prices of mattresses to coincide with the 15th anniversary of 9/11. The TV spot showed the businesses using mattresses to topple to articulate their point.
The story quickly hit the nerve of mainstream media worldwide who condemned the content for its poor taste in such a time in of mourning. This goes down as one of the worst-executed campaigns of all-time.
No matter how creative or left-field your idea may be, building out content is a long-term agenda. There are no quick wins to overtake your competition in the market. Rash decisions can lead to irreparable damage.
- Malaysia Airlines: What’s your death wish?
Despite the the twin tragedies of MH17 and MH370 in which major travel operator Malaysia Airlines (MAS) was involved, the company went ahead with a competition on social media that left a bad taste in the mouth of more than its fair share of recipients. People in Australia and New Zealand were invited to explain “What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list?” in exchange for free economy-class tickets and free iPads.
However, the brand didn’t do its homework to know that bucket list can be interpreted to mean things to try and achieve before you do, a message clearly lost in translation. The landing page hosting the competition on the MAS website was taken down due to public outcry, meanwhile the reverberations continued on social media channels.
As an advocate of pursuing the latest trends in digital content and marketing we want to point out that for every missed opportunity there is a success story. Indago Digital invites you to check out our client case studies and read more about how we implement fool-proof, scalable strategies to help your grow businesses online.