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Top 10 digital marketing disasters in the history

digital marketing disasters

Digital marketing has opened new avenues for companies. Some of the big companies can attribute their success or reinvention of their image to digital marketing. However, its biggest downside is that the disasters are available over the internet till the end of time. No wonder, any digital marketing disaster has had much higher repercussions than conventional marketing errors.

Digital Marketing disasters

Here is a list of some major digital marketing disasters:

1.     McDonald’s UK fiasco

Nothing spells a bigger digital marketing disaster than a story gone horribly wrong. Storytelling is a quick way to maneuver the audience and connect with them at an emotional level. However, McDonald’s went too far. The company tried to tug at the audience’s heartstrings by incorporating the grief-stricken conversation of a little boy with his mother over his dead father while connecting with her over the love of fast food. This did not sit well with the masses, and the ad campaign showed that storytelling needs proper consideration of sensitive issues.

2.     Adidas’ Boston marathon email

Adidas was one of the sponsors of the inspirational Boston marathon. The company sent out an email to the participants after the conclusion of the marathon, stating, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”. It resulted in a public uproar on the social media with people posting the screenshots of the mail. This was because just four years ago, over 250 people suffered injuries, with three losing their lives to a fatal bombing incident. Make sure to get the campaigns checked before releasing them.a

3.     Dove’s racist ad

The most abject disregard for social issues came in the form of the advertising campaign by Dove. The company known to appreciate the beauty in all forms was at the receiving end of some serious backlash. It posted a paneled image showing a black woman transforming into a white woman after using their product. Adding to the fuel to mass indignation was that the company tried to pass the debacle off as an attempt to celebrate “the diversity of real beauty”. However, this clearly showed that using social subjects is the worst form of marketing. Moreover, it is best to truly understand the significance of the message that your marketing campaign is intended for.

Image source: The Guardian

4.     Pepsi-Jenner flop

Pepsi ran a campaign showing Kendall Jenner in the middle of a modeling shoot. But all of a sudden, she sees a protest for black lives matter and drops everything. She heads towards the protest to hand over a can of Pepsi to a police officer. Post this, everyone hugs, and the issue regarding the sensitive topic resolves. The apparent insensitivity to the subject of black lives matter by the company was so severe that the company had to drop the campaign. And also, Jenner for taking the brunt of the whole fiasco.

5.     Jenner’s Proactiv debacle

One of the biggest digital marketing disasters was that of Proactiv. Kendall Jenner announced her association with Proactiv as their new face. Kris Jenner used her twitter account to create curiosity amongst the followers across the world, stating that her daughter has a major announcement to make, and she is proud of her coming out so bravely while calling her “vulnerable”. The problem was that Jenner used her own tryst with acne as a topic for announcing her association with the company and advertising it in such a lighter tone. Acne has been a serious issue for many, and the two women faced some serious backlash for using it to promote their association for which they made some big bucks. Moreover, Kendall attributed her clear skin to Proactiv, which is not able to convince people to date.

6.     Total Beauty

It is easy to sometimes confuse celebrities with one another, but doing so, being a huge brand is just unacceptable. Total Beauty came under fire during the 2016 Oscars, which was already boycotted by the black fraternity for the contingent of blacks in the nominations. Total Beauty posted a picture of Whoopi Goldberg from the red carpet stating, “We had no idea Oprah was tatted, and we love it”. The social media did not forgive the brand for mistaking the two women that, too, during such a sensitive time.

7.     Audi’s Chinese Wedding ad

Objectifying women for marketing is one of the grossest errors of all time, and Audi came under some well-deserved fire for the same. Audi came up with an ad in which a couple is about to say “I do” at the altar when the to-be mother-in-law interrupts and goes on to assess the bride for perfection. She checks every aspect of the woman and later approves her son’s choice with the tagline, “An important decision must be made carefully.” The ad was disrespectful towards women and garnered much hate.

8.     Bic’s Facebook ad campaign

The pen company came under fire when they posted an image on their social media account, encouraging women to “look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man and work like a boss”. The sexist post was heavily criticized by women leading to the company issuing a public apology.

9.     Cinnabon

Capitalizing on a tragedy is the worst form of marketing. Cinnabon used Carrie Fisher’s death for marketing purposes. The company posted on their social media account, “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll always have the best buns in the galaxy.” The post not only used death for marketing but also was offensive towards women in general. The company erased the digital marketing disaster, but it was too late.

10.     Digiorno’s use of hashtag

Over the past few years, many new movements have taken center stage, and people have found a unified voice using hashtags. Tags like #metoo, #whyistayed resonate with people across the world on very grave issues. However, Digiorno completely missed the tone and used the hashtag #whyistayed for marketing purposes. The company realized their mistake and had to issue an apology publicly.

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