Fuckups of situational marketing: how big companies screwed up.
Even large companies have failures. We have collected a few examples of how not to do it.
Playing the infomercial beautifully is when you balance satire and tolerance. It’s that feeling when the reader bursts into laughter and shares with colleagues, clicking furiously on the “Share” button and thinking to himself, “That’s a neat thing they did.
But when things don’t go according to plan, all that’s left to do is understand and forgive. And take it in stride how not to do it.
KFC and Oprah
In 2009, KFC engaged celebrity TV host Oprah Winfrey, who posted coupons for free lunch at the chain’s restaurants on her website to promote the new dish.
Millions of people took advantage of the opportunity. But KFC was not ready for such an influx of customers. During the campaign, the company gave away $40 million worth of food. It also had to pay a hefty fee to Oprah for being the face of the advertising campaign.
McDonald’s and the Olympics
During the 1984 Summer Olympics McDonald’s came up with a striking slogan: “Winning USA, win and you.
Each order at the restaurant chain came with a raffle ticket with the sport written on it. If the U.S. team won gold in that sport, the customer got a Big Mac, a French fry for silver and a Coca-Cola for bronze.
But the trouble was that the USSR, the main competitor of the U.S. at the time, boycotted the Olympics. So the Americans won 83 gold, 61 silver, and 30 bronze medals. The company did not disclose the amount of losses.
Pepsi and the magic of numbers
In 1992 Pepsi launched a promotion in the Philippines, in which the company promised to give 1 million pesos (about $40,000 at that time) to anyone who could find the lucky number under the lid. The trouble was that the lucky number 349 had been printed 800,000 times.
The company couldn’t pay out that much, so it cited a computer glitch, but it didn’t help. There were 689 civil lawsuits and 5,200 criminal cases for fraud.
As a result, each owner of the cherished number got only about $ 2,000 instead of the promised $ 40,000, nevertheless, this campaign cost Pepsi almost $ 10 million instead of the originally planned $ 2 million.
Domino’s and free pizza for life
One of the most recent examples of marketing faux pas. In late August, Domino’s Pizza announced the launch of an unusual promotion. The company promised a certificate for 100 free pizzas a year for 100 years to anyone who made a tattoo with the Domino’s Pizza logo on a prominent area of the body and posted a photo on social media with the hashtag #dominosn forever.
The campaign was supposed to last until October 31 of this year. Initially, there were no restrictions on the number of participants or tattoo designs in the announcement of the contest. But on September 3, the company clarified that only the first 350 people would participate in the promotion – and each year they would have to verify their tattoos to receive a new annual certificate. The next day, Domino’s Pizza said it had already recruited 350 participants and was no longer accepting applications.