One of the reasons many small and local business owners fail to embark on any kind of seo or digital marketing campaign is they feel that they cannot compete with larger companies and corporations that do. We will state upfront and categorically that digital marketing can work for every business, regardless of its size or its status.
There is also a myth that the giants in the corporate are untouchable and that the multi-million dollar budget they have allows them to create perfect marketing and advertising campaigns with the help of some of the most successful marketing agencies in the world. Whilst large budgets and having access to the best marketing minds undoubtedly helps, it most certainly does not make them infallible.
To prove that point, we are going to highlight three of the biggest marketing blunders made by corporate giants. This will prove that they are far from perfect when it comes to digital marketing and hopefully will also ensure that you do not make similar mistakes.
Making Promises That Are Impossible To Keep
One of the most used and successful promotion types used across the world is a voucher for a free sample. A business believes that giving something away for free creates a customer, who will hopefully become a paying customer.
These promotions need to be planned carefully, otherwise, calamity can strike as happened to Timothy’s World Coffee. They ran a promotion on social media offering a free coffee pack, but such was its success, they ran out of the product and were unable to fulfil multiple requests for the free offer. This led to numerous complaints and to make matters worse, Timothy’s World Coffee subsequently claimed the offer was first-come, first-served, which was a public relations disaster.
The lesson? Ensure all promotions are fully costed, fully resourced (including product stock), and that all possible scenarios are thought of, before launching.
Using Imagery That Shows Bias, Discrimination, Or Intolerance
Imagery can create or destroy reputations and that is what happened to the Snickers bar in Spain. They ran an ad with the tagline ‘You Are Not Yourself When You’re Hungry’, which is also used to promote Snickers in other countries. However, in Spain, the imagery used was a YouTube celebrity and well-known transvestite called Ales Gabija transforming from a feminine persona into a hunky looking man.
Whilst many saw the humour in the ad, in Spain it led to Mars Inc., the makers of Snickers, being accused of homophobia and being anti-women because their ad portrayed female appearance as being negative versus looking like a man. It even led to a Spanish government minister criticising the company.
The lesson? Always check marketing material for any possibility that it may offend specific groups of people within society.
Headlines Out Of Context
Global brands do not come much bigger than Burger King, but even they are not immune from a digital marketing faux pas. They sent out a tweet with the intention of attracting more female applicants to a scholarship program to become chefs in their restaurants given that the majority of their chefs were male. A highly laudable intention, but the initial Tweet stated “Women belong in the kitchen” which, when read out of context led to Burger King being accused of misogyny.
The lesson? Proofread headlines and marketing messages that will be used in isolation to ensure they cannot be misconstrued when read without other text which would give them their true meaning.