One of the hardest things about marketing is you can't always tell how an audience will take something. If you make a bold statement will they agree or be offended? If you attempt to make a joke will they laugh or take it to heart? Market research is a vital tool to help avoid these mistakes but occasionally companies mess up and sometimes, they use poor taste or poor judgement. Below is a list of a few.
1. Pepsi- Harrier Jet Commercial
This is one mistake that led to a lawsuit. Watching the commercial, you gather that you can collect Pepsi Points the more you drink and redeem those points for various items. It ends showing a jet and saying it would be 7,000,000. One man, John Leonard, had 15 Pepsi Points and paid ten cents for each of the rest of points (as stated in the rules) and then attempted to claim his jet. Of course, Pepsi wasn't offering jets in exchange for the points, it was more of a exaggeration and ended up with the courts ruling in favor of Pepsi as no reasonable person would believe a company would sell a $23 million jet for $700,000. Arguably, this is more of a mistake for Leonard than it was for Pepsi since the won the case and if anything, it gave them more publicity.
What we can learn: That fine print you can put at the bottom of the screen? USE IT.
2. McDonald's- Carry On Commerical
This video, which shows McDonald's signs after public tragedies such as 9/11 and the Boston bombing along with personal events such as anniversaries and welcoming babies into the world. The ad was was meant to depict the fast-food giant as an necessary part of local communities across the country. The ad, which aired during the 2015 Golden Globes had a few supporters but mostly received backlash. Most people were saying it is insensitive and tacky.
What we can learn: McDonald's was later quoted as saying that they expected a divide on the interruption of the commercial and the company was unapologetic. From a marketing perspective we can take away from this that if you have an ad that might be controversial, just warn your boss and have the PR ready with a statement.
3. Pepsi- Kendall Jenner Commercial
Here is another Pepsi ad that caused controversy and this one is much more recent. The ad showed Kendall Jenner posing for a fashion shoot while protesters run by holding signs demanding unspecific change. Jenner eventually rips of her blonde wig and joins the movement where a police officer accepts a can of Pepsi from her, setting off raucous approval from the protesters and an appreciative grin from the officer. Let's just say people did NOT approve. The ad has been called sick, trash, and tasteless and has caused celebrities to support a boycott of Pepsi products. It sparked major criticism for making light of current political movements, including Black Lives Matter and Women's Marches. Jenner has not spoken out about the ad and has removed all social media posts promoting it.
What we can learn: Focus groups are a thing for a reason and sometimes what you think is a good idea, isn't. Even if you aren't a huge company that can afford to conduct focus groups, you can ask a few honest friends and get the same results.
4. Burger King- Connected Whopper
Burger king recently came out with this 15 second ad which depicts a burger king employee who asks “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Essentially, a burger king commercial was hi-jacking people's Google homes devices by triggering a response. At first, google would take from the Burger King Wikipedia page and in real time read the ingredients. Then people began editing the wiki page adding "cyanide" and "human flesh" and other jokes. Eventually, the execs at Google made it so google home doesn't register the audio on the commercial.
What we can learn: While it's a great idea to incorporate modern technology and partnerships, when you want to partner with a company, ASK! Perhaps this mishap could've been avoided if Burger King approached google before creating a now useless ad.
In the end, creating an ad that is widely talked about and everyone loves isn't always easy and sometimes you can't have both. While these ads created quite the stir, I think it goes back to the old saying "any press is good press" but to keep in mind the cost of losing customers and producing ads that can't run. What do you think? Would an offensive ad cost you brand loyalty? Comment below and let's chat.
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Facebook has likes, LinkedIn has connections, and Twitter and Instagram have followers. Across all social media platforms it doesn't matter what you call them, but you there's a dedicated group of people and companies that essentially are "followers". As you grow as new business and start to develop your social media, it can be disheartening have no followers or to post and get just a few likes. It can be tempting to "buy" followers. These are typically fake accounts that will follow you back to inflate the number and make your company seem like it has a bigger following than it does. Below are a few reasons why organic followers (users that participate based on your content and engagement) are the way to go.
Real followers are going to like, share, retweet, and comment on your posts. Fake followers, which are bought, are simply there to increase the number of followers in your profile. Have you ever seen a profile that has 10,000 followers but gets about 10 likes on their posts? I'm not calling anyone out in particular here but that has always raised a red flag with me. To be fair, they could be experts in growing followers but lacking at getting them engaged.
They actually like what you're selling and promoting. Think about that for a second. Wouldn't you rather have 5 people eager to listen to you then 100 who don't care? Having fake followers is equal to giving a speech to a room full of mannequins. Also, by having organic followers who want to see your posts, it's like targeting your ads, for free!
There's a reason YouTube and Facebook target their ads. Have you ever googled something and realized it's suddenly an ad for you on Facebook or that the YouTube ad relates to the video you clicked on? That's for good reason, and you should follow their lead. Since these users like your products and services, they're more likely to actually make a purchases. Isn't that the reason your company is on social media in the first place?
Even though it is typically a slower growth period, it makes sense in the end for your time, company, and money. Most small businesses neglect social media because, when done right, it takes up several hours a week and sometimes a day. I have to say it is so worth it! I can speak from experience when I say I have gotten leads and customers from social media. Want some help doing this for your business? Let's chat.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions!
Blogging (when done correctly) is the number one thing that can draw attention to your business. Both small and big businesses alike use it to promote their services and products. A few of my favorites are REI, Coca-Cola, and Whole Foods. REI has a great blog because it balances things its consumers would like such as making an an Adirondack Chairs out of skis, with ask an expert articles that are super helpful when doing outdoor activities that could be dangerous. Coca-Cola's blog is an awesome one not only because of its adorable name (Unbottled: the Coca-Cola Story) but because it fuses its products with current events and political issues. I love Whole Foods' blog because it gives tips, tricks, and recipes which give the read knowledge and also promotes its products. Basically its a win-win. In case you need more of a push, below is a list of 46 reasons to blog.
2. Provide advice to those who need it
3. Improve SEO
4. Show your expertise
5. Gain trust from readers
6. Improve your writing
7. Exposure to new clients
8. Inspire readers
9. It's free
10. Increases confidence in your products and services
11. Create your own website content
12. Engage with readers
13. Improve communication
14. Potentially monetize your blog
15. Promote your services
16. Grow your business
17. Meet new people
18. Connect with like-minded people
19. Showcase yourself for future job opportunities
20. Organize your ideas
21. Voice your opinion
22. Reflect and learn from your past
23. Dedicate yourself to a timeline
24. Challenge yourself
25. Build your brand
26. Document your life
27. Face our fears
28. Confidence boost
29. Stand out
30. Expand your business network
31. Find your purpose
32. Leave your legacy
33. Develop consist habits
34. Improve conversation skills
35. Financial freedom
36. Increase credibility
37. Opportunities for freelancing
38. Prove you're an expert
39. Creative freedom
40. Opportunities to vent
42. Become an authority in your industry
43. Develop an online portfolio
44. Easy to start
45. Tell your story
46. Anyone can do it!
Did that inspire you to start your own blog? I hope so. It truly is a great tool to gain clients, customers, and ultimately profits.
Need help figuring out how to blog in order to vastly improve your SEO (search engine optimization)? I develop SEO plans for your blog that teach you how to gain traffic in a way that's easy to understand. Let's chat!
Hi there, it's me, Michelle! Welcome to my blog. It’s a personal look into my business and my life. Here you'll get to know a bit of my personality, see where I do my work when i'm traveling, and be able to read some business tips. My hope is that you'll get to know me better and that you'll learn a little something.