Brands that got it wrong, and brands that got it right

We all know the phrase ‘we learn from our mistakes’, but personally, we think it’s better to learn from other people's mistakes instead. Looking at brands who have got their marketing wrong in the past can give us insight into the pitfalls to avoid in our own marketing. On the other hand, we are able to take inspiration and learn from the brands who have got their marketing right and made an impact! We’ve put together our favourite campaigns, whether this is for good or bad reasons, so we can learn from them and improve our own campaigns in future.

KFC - Celebrity Endorsements

KFC Chicken Bucket

Celebrity endorsements are a great way to promote brand awareness and add a more human side to a brand. Choosing a celebrity whose own brand is similar to your companies and also shares aligned values isn’t to be overlooked - a successful example of this is Post Malone and Bud Light. In the past, KFC worked with Grime star, Lethal Bizzle on an ad with the hopes that this would encourage sales from Bizzle's fan base. One thing KFC overlooked was that the rapper's fan base would be fully aware that Lethal Bizzle is a loyal customer to rival chicken chain, Nandos. Being a black cardholder, the rapper is seen on social media visiting the competitor weekly and even mentions the chicken shop in one of his most streamed songs, Fester Skank in the line ‘two two chicken, Nandos’. 

Before working with an influencer or celebrity, don’t only look at their values and whether they would be a good fit, but dive into what they do in their free time. This will ensure your company avoids awkward pairings, or even having your own brands reputation damaged because of the choices your celebrity endorsement has made independently.


Heineken - sometimes lighter is better

In 2018 Heineken launched a new ad promoting their light beer, however after extreme backlash and criticism of racism the ad was pulled by the brand after only 6 days. In the advert, the bartender spots a light-skinned woman at the end of the bar so he slides a beer towards her. On the way, it passes two black women and a black man. Once it reaches the light-skinned women the words ‘sometimes, lighter is better’ flash across the screen. Although the brand has claimed the words were only referring to the light beer, this highlights the importance of having a diverse team involved in campaigns to spot issues that may cause offence. It’s important to investigate all possible meanings and impressions campaigns may give to different audiences.

Ford - Mistranslation 

Ford car

Expanding a brand globally is a brilliant opportunity for any company and can be a step toward becoming a more profitably and well-known business. Alongside these opportunities are new challenges that many companies won’t have had to deal with before. When marketing your product or service abroad you need to be aware of the new target market and their culture, then adapt your brand to suit. Mistranslations are one challenge that have tripped a significant number of brands in the past, therefore you should always confer with a team of fluent speakers from each country you’re expanding into, as well as deep diving into their culture and beliefs. 

Car manufacturer, Ford, launched an ad in Belgium with the intention of featuring the tagline “every car has a high-quality body”, however after being translated incorrectly, the tagline read “every car has a high-quality corpse” which isn’t the most effective incentive to buy.

GoPro - Adapting 

Go Pro Instagram Page

GoPro have taken full advantage of social media and are using it to their advantage. They have adapted the way they use each platform in order to best showcase their product and connect with their audience. Within their strategy, they have identified how best to benefit from each platform, and through this have gained a significant following on each!

On Facebook the focus is on interacting with their followers, engaging with them and using their brand voice to form a strong identity. On Instagram, GoPro still interacts with their followers but have altered the way in which they do this. Instead of focusing on conversation, they promote the quality of their products by posting user-generated content and tagging the photographer. Twitter is predominantly used for product announcements, and on YouTube, tutorials and tips are shared. 

Adapting your content for each network not only means you’re meeting the needs of the different audiences but ensures followers don’t lose interest in your posts, therefore encouraging growth across all platforms.

Nike - Emotional Marketing 

Within marketing one of the most effective tools is emotion. Nike is a brand who have based their marketing strategy on this which has contributed to their consistent growth (an average of 4% revenue increase year-on-year). Through their use of emotional advertising, they have created campaigns that the majority of individuals can identify with or relate to in some way. 

Instead of basing their marketing around their products, they focus on athletes, sports teams, or human stories. In their ‘Dream Crazier’ advert, Nike highlights the struggles, specifically of female athletes, and shows them overcoming obstacles and breaking boundaries; creating a sense of heroism and motivating viewers. You can watch the advert here.

Wendy’s - Unique Brand Voice

Wendy Burger Meal

Wendy’s have achieved the title as one of the most influential brands online due to discovering their unique brand voice and remaining committed to this in everything they do. The biggest fast-food brand in the world, McDonalds, has a following of 4.5 million on Twitter, however, Wendy’s are close behind with 3.9 million even though they are ranked in 11th place for fast-food brand size globally. Wendy’s social media strategy was so successful that McDonalds is now following in their footsteps and adopting similar techniques. 

They are known for their humorous tweets and their ability to ‘roast’ anyone - competitor or consumer. As a society, we turn to social media as an escape and to be entertained, therefore we are less influenced by brands hard selling on these platforms. Now consumers are following the brand online to keep up to date with their witty tweets which created a spike in brand awareness, and ultimately increased sales. In the fourth quarter of 2016 their net income was $28.9 million, a year later after adopting their new brand persona, their net income was $159.3 million, and this has continued to grow. This show’s that creating a unique and strong brand voice makes your business more identifiable to consumers and supports your growth. 

Wendy's Tweet

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