It’s a nightmare that can wake you in the middle of the night and leave your advertising budget in shambles: marketing fails. These are not only expensive mistakes, but there’s also a lot of significant public relations fallout as a result. However, you can minimize your chances of falling into these situations by following a few of our suggestions as a part of your interactive marketing plan.
Some of the scariest marketing fails in advertising history
Let’s go ahead and start with the most famous fail in product history. It’s a sad day when the very name of your product is synonymous with failure. But why did it fail? According to Business Insider magazine, it’s because Ford never decided on their market niche and, even worse, didn’t listen to their customers, who were in the market for a more economical value from a smaller car.
The Quiznos commercial featuring…we have no idea what they are
Officially, we think they were called “spongmonkeys.” What is a spongmonkey? We haven’t got a clue. We just know that they look like some type of warped gerbil and they sing—off-key– about how they love Quiznos. Maybe it’s not the worst marketing fail ever, but we do think it’s one of the creepiest. The commercial was not just annoying, it was downright scary—and it didn’t make us want to eat at Quiznos.
If you insist on seeing the commercial (and we recommend that you don’t), you can see the video on You Tube. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Cartoon Network’s guerilla marketing
Guerilla marketing is using low-cost, unconventional marketing stunts to gain maximum publicity and coverage for your product. It’s very difficult to do guerilla marketing well, and it can easily backfire, as the Cartoon Network discovered.
To promote a new series, the network placed LED signs throughout several cities in the U.S. featuring a strange creature from the series. Because there was no context with which to frame this campaign, concerned citizens and police saw the cryptic signs with wires and batteries and believed they were bombs. As a result, Boston was shut down in a terrorism scare, according to information from CNN. The Cartoon Network had to pay roughly $2 million in compensation to police and emergency workers.
Coke had a good thing going. Its highly recognized brand connected to the emotions of millions of people across the world. When Pepsi started winning blind taste tests for its “The Pepsi Challenge” advertising campaign, Coke panicked and came up with New Coke, which was created to taste more like Pepsi. While preliminary taste tests seemed successful, the product fell flat. The company had to remarket its original product under the name Coca-Cola Classic.
How to avoid these marketing fails
1. Listen to your customer.
That simple tenant would have saved Edsel from the junkyard of history. If Ford realized that customers wanted the exact opposite of what they were offering, the outcome would have been different. Have you defined your client base? Do you know what they are looking for?
2. Find a good consumer focus group.
While there’s no accounting for taste, we’re willing to bet the Quiznos critters would have peacefully vanished if the ad agency asked a group of astute consumers to take a closer look at it.
3. Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Being aware of the political and social climate of the world enables you to avoid some serious cultural faux pas. It’s more economical (and tasteful) to do due diligence from the beginning than to need more expensive public relations recovery efforts later.
4. An interactive marketing plan is not a gimmick.
Gimmicks and guerilla marketing can only get you so far—and they’re very likely to backfire. You’re better off to plan for long-term success through Instagram marketing, PPC management and search engine optimization.
5. Don’t turn your back on customer loyalty.
While Coke lost some ground to Pepsi in the 80s, it lost sight of its identity—and its loyal customer base—by trying to become something it was not. Don’t chase shiny objects. Instead, reward your customers for loyalty by continually dedicating yourself to the heart and soul of your brand story.
Proclaim Interactive is much more than a web development company
So often, businesses believe their marketing begins and ends with a great website. However, that’s only part of the equation. We’re an award-winning web design company offering the full range of marketing services, from Instagram marketing to pay-per-click management. Even more important, we help companies identify the unique value propositions which place them as an authority in their subject area. Our mission is to help you reach your goals through interactive marketing strategies.
And we’ll never give you a campaign featuring strange, gerbil-like creatures that can’t sing.
Since its inception in 2000, Proclaim Interactive has combined excellence in design and think-out-of- the-box digital marketing to become one of the most award-winning firms in the region. Proclaim Interactive provides website design, social media management, SEO and general marketing services designed to amplify clients’ messages. For more information call 910.795.4143.