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Why marketing campaigns of these top brands failed?


Marketing strategies are planned and implemented to get the audience’s attention and place their brand in the market. But who do these plans fail? The most common answer is, that their ideas do not reach the target audience.

Companies and businesses usually spend a lot of time bringing together bits of ideas, but the picture changes when they execute it. It is meant to elevate your brand image and build loyalty among consumers.

If the audience doesn't get it, you don’t get it.

Here we are going to list out some Marketing fails and what we can learn from each.


Kendall’s Pepsi ad


Pepsi’s TV commercial that came in 2017 was not well-received as people thought it was downplaying serious social issues. In the ad, a group of people are shown marching for a protest. Famous model Kendall Jenner watches the protests and then joins them. She moves forward and hands a police officer a can of Pepsi that resolves the issue.

Well, was it that easy?


What they had intended?

Pepsi wanted to exhibit itself as a unifying element that could bring peace and happiness to the world.

What did consumers perceive?

The viewers felt the ad degraded serious issues and protests on Black Lives Matter. They felt the company trivialised a controversial topic and they flipped out on the ad.


What to learn?

  • Do not use controversial and sensitive topics unless you can handle the criticism

  • Do your research well and make sure you consider all the sides of an idea


Dove’s body-shaped bottle packages


Dove is a brand well-known for promoting real beauty and body positivity. Their real beauty campaign was a huge success until they decided to become extra creative with their packaging. In 2017 they released a series of bottle packaging shaped like women’s body types.

Did people find it supportive?


What they had intended?

Through the bottle packages, Dove was trying to convey the message of positive body perception. They wanted to accept all body types and shapes and break the stereotypes.


What did consumers perceive?

People became offensive when they had to choose their body shape from the bottle. Instead of promoting body diversity, they made women more self-conscious.


What to learn?

  • Try to convey emotions in a better way, or else the wrong message can create havoc

  • Think through when you appeal to long-standing beliefs like self-perception


Dove’s racist social media post


Dove campaigns have received great criticism for bringing about sensitive issues to light. The next one is a Facebook ad that presented a black woman, who removes her t-shirt to reveal a white woman, and so on it goes with a series of other women of different colour tones. But why was that taken back by the company?


What they had intended?

Initially, Dove wanted to represent body diversity and positivity by connecting various women and showing the important message that all women are beautiful.


What did consumers perceive?

The audience went against the ad as it showcased a woman of colour being changed to a white woman. The racist ad was banned immediately.


What to learn?

  • Know how your ideas will be seen from every perspective.


Burger King’s woman’s day post


Burger King’s tweet on International Woman’s day of 2021 has been criticised widely for its sexist tone. The forts tweet says, “Women belong in the kitchen”, followed by tweets saying, “If they want to, of course…”. Towards the end of the tweet, it becomes clear that they were trying to talk about the decreasing number of women in the restaurant sector and announced that they are going to give a scholarship for culinary courses.

But did the audience get to the last tweet?


What they had intended?

The company tried to grab the attention in the first tweet and later give their thoughts on women's empowerment in the following post.


What did consumers perceive?

The first impression played with the stereotypical statement about women. However, it was just clickbait.


What to learn?

  • Treat each social media platform as unique. What works for Instagram wouldn't convey the same message on Twitter, where each message comes as a different post.


To sum up


The above examples tell us clearly that what one perceives won't be the same for everyone. whenever you put out a plan for discussion, make sure it is questioned from every possible angle.

The tone of the marketing or ad campaign is also crucial. If the topic is light, then keep the style cool. But never adopt a casual tone for a grave matter.

Avoid any form of offence on any part of society which can tamper with your brand image.


So how can you build a great marketing campaign?

Try to follow the four rules of a good marketing campaign.

  1. Devise a clear goal

  2. Know your target audience

  3. Create engaging and sensible content

  4. Track the results for greater impact


As you have gone through the above pointers, now make sure you understand and listen better rather than leaping into action. Research is always the key to making a bigger impact.


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