Marketing campaigns that went wrong.
When you think about marketing campaigns gone wrong, what comes to mind? The release of the Blair Witch Project? Or maybe when Pepsi tried to piggyback off of the Black Lives Matter movement? In any case, we’ve compiled a list of 8 of the biggest marketing fails in recent memory. These should serve as a warning to all marketers out there. No matter how big or small your brand is, cultural sensitivity and a sense of common decency are key. Keep this in mind to avoiding a PR disaster.
It happens to the best of us. We plan and execute a marketing campaign with the best of intentions, but sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most epic marketing fails in recent history, and explore what marketers can learn from them.
1. Pepsi’s Black Lives Matter Ad
In April of 2017, Pepsi released an ad that was meant to show. “The moment when we decide to stand up and fight for what’s right.” The ad starred Kendall Jenner, who ditches a photo shoot to join a group of protesters. At the end of the ad, Jenner offers a Pepsi to a police officer, and he gratefully accepts it.
The ad was met with immediate backlash. With many people accusing Pepsi of appropriating the Black Lives Matter movement and trivializing the very real dangers that protesters face. Pepsi pulled the ad within 24 hours, and issued an apology, saying that they “missed the mark.”
2. Dove’s “Racist” Ad
In October of 2017, Dove released an ad that showed a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman underneath. The ad was intended to show that Dove’s products are so moisturizing that they can change your skin color.
However, many people saw the ad as racist, and accused Dove of perpetuating the stereotype that black people are dirty and in need of cleansing. Dove issued an apology, saying that they “missed the mark” and that they “are sorry for the offense that it caused.”
3. H&M’s “Monkey” Hoodie
In January of 2018, H&M released an ad that showed a black boy wearing a hoodie that said “coolest monkey in the jungle.” The ad was met with immediate backlash, with many people accusing H&M of racism. H&M pulled the ad and issued an apology, saying that they “are deeply sorry for the offense that we have caused.”
4. Gucci’s “Blackface” Sweater
In February of 2019, Gucci released a sweater that many people saw as racist. The sweater, which was intended to look like a blackface, was met with immediate backlash, with many people calling for a boycott of the brand. Gucci issued an apology, saying that they “are truly sorry for the offense that we have caused.”
5. Nivea’s “White is Purity” Ad
In April of 2017, Nivea released an ad for its “invisible deodorant” that said “white is purity.” The ad was met with immediate backlash, with many people accusing Nivea of racism. Nivea issued an apology, saying that the ad was “in no way intended to be racist.”
6. Adidas’ “You Killed People” Ad In
June of 2017, Adidas released an ad that said “you killed people. You should be ashamed of yourself.” The ad was in response to the London Bridge terrorist attack, which had happened the day before. The ad was met with immediate backlash, with many people accusing Adidas of being insensitive. Adidas pulled the ad and issued an apology, saying that they “are truly sorry for the offense that we have caused.”
7. Starbucks’ “Unacceptable” Ad
In May of 2018, Starbucks released an ad that many people found to be offensive. The ad showed a black man being refused service at a Starbucks. This was met with immediate backlash, with many people accusing Starbucks of racism. Starbucks pulled the ad and issued an apology. Saying that the ad was “unacceptable” and that they “are truly sorry for the offense that we have caused.”
8. Dolce & Gabbana’s “Racist” Ad
In November of 2018, Dolce & Gabbana released an ad that many people found to be racist. The ad showed a black woman eating pizza with chopsticks, and it was met with immediate backlash, with many people accusing Dolce & Gabbana of racism. Dolce & Gabbana pulled the ad and issued an apology, saying that they “are truly sorry for the offense that we have caused.”
These are just a few examples of marketing campaigns that went wrong. While it’s impossible to predict everything that could go wrong with a campaign, there are some general lessons that marketers can learn from these failures.
What’s important with your marketing campaigns.
First, it’s important to be aware of the current social and political climate when planning a campaign. With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever for a campaign to backfire if it’s seen as insensitive or out of touch.
Second, it’s important to consider the potential implications of a campaign before launching it. For example, the Google Glass ad campaign might have been more successful if the company had considered the potential privacy concerns that people might have about the product.
Finally, when a campaign does go wrong, it’s important to own up to it and apologize if necessary. Trying to cover up a mistake or downplay the seriousness of an issue will only make things worse.
Marketers need to be aware of the potential risks involved in any campaign, and be prepared to adjust their plans if necessary. By learning from past mistakes, we can avoid making them in the future.