Monday Marketing Minute: Avoid Advertising Fails

Posted by DC Marketing Pro on September 16, 2013 at 11:19 AM

DC Marketing Pro's Monday Marketing MinuteDC Marketing Pro’s Monday Marketing Minute, is a weekly feature that provides interesting and insightful marketing information, written to be read in a “minute.”  We start off each week publishing a nugget about a marketing trend, an interesting marketing quote or relevant marketing article. 

Here is your September 16th Monday Marketing Minute:

Despite the positive press Jimmy Kimmel recently received from his twerking “fail” video, no company wants to be labeled with “fail.” That includes advertising “fails” and backlash (generally through social media) over an advertising campaign.  However, the reality is that it’s happening now more than ever, even with campaigns that were created with the best of intentions.

Case in point:  AT&T and Marriott’s attempts to commemorate the September 11th attacks. In light of last week’s anniversary of the attacks, AT&T and Marriott (as well as a few other National brands) wound up having to do damage control due to backlash over their marketing and promotions.

AT&T was accused of using the tragedy to promote their phones by posting a picture of someone using one of their smartphones to take a picture of the twin lights that light up the New York City skyline as a yearly commemoration on the anniversary of the attacks. Marriott’s situation was a little different in that they tried to do something nice for hotel guests, but it came off as offensive. These incidences make the point that anything, even giving out free muffins, can be viewed as offensive when it is related to, or in commemoration of, a sensitive event such as September 11th.

Both companies say they were trying to commemorate the event and not trying to use the anniversary to self-promote.  It seems that both companies had good intentions; however their intentions were not viewed that way by many people who saw these promotions as tasteless and offensive.  So how do you make sure it doesn’t happen to you?

Follow some simple guidelines:

1.) First, don’t TOUCH religion or politics.  Stay far away!  There are many smart people who avoid ALL conversations about these topics because they typically get uncomfortable.  The same should be true with your marketing.  Avoid these lightning rods at all cost.

2.) When in doubt, DON’T!  If there is even a single thought that the direction you are taking could be offensive to even one person, then don’t go there.

While those may seem like common sense, many companies still fail to follow them…as evidenced by the articles we linked above.  The best marketing strategies can be derailed by these simple mistakes. 

For additional help creating great marketing strategies for your Washington D.C. area business, download our free eBook, The Marketing Strategy Model.  Every business has its own unique needs and marketing objectives, and this guide will help you create the best marketing mix for your business. 


Tags: Marketing strategy, message, Monday Marketing Minute

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