Is there such a thing as bad publicity? Look at celebrities and tabloids; they almost seem to coexist, feeding the public with a reality beyond our own. Yes, bad publicity can hurt, but is better or worse than being unknown?
Being an unknown kills businesses, as it does celebrities, and so having a good marketing plan is part of any successful business. It’s not enough to have a good product or offer great service if customers don’t know who you are or what you do.
When it comes to marketing strategies, mistakes are bound to happen, regardless of the size of the company or marketing budget. No business wants to look foolish, but how do you handle it if it happens?
Let’s look at some marketing failures to see what not to do:
Kids Exchange company’s logo read (without spacing or punctuation) KIDSEXCHANGE, needless to say there was some controversy.
Weight Watchers sent out flyers with then spokesperson Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, stating that “losing weight was harder than outrunning the paparazzi”. Unfortunately for the company, the flyers were mailed out at the time of Princess Diana’s death.
When Mitt Romney was running for President, his marketing campaign put out an ad that read, “A Better Amercia”.
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College paid for a billboard that read, “Be A Biomedical Technincian”.
Creative Kids Software created an entire marketing ad campaign around the slogan, “So Fun, They Won’t Even Know Their Learning”.
Krispy Kreme had the deepest of regrets and apologizes when one of their stores in the UK starting marketing doughnuts as a mid-week snack through their Krispy Kreme Klub, calling it KKK Wednesday.
Even though these marketing campaigns caused some controversy and embarrassment, they also created a lot of talk. But is talk about failed marketing attempts good or bad? The truth is that grammatical errors and bad timing happen to every business, and we know that. As a society, we’ll laugh and make jokes about the obvious mistakes, but we don’t hold them against the company. Don’t confuse a bad marketing ad campaign for a bad reputation; they’re not even close to the same thing.
Do market your business.
Do not try to create a failed marketing ad on purpose in hopes of it going viral or showcased on late night television.
Finally, if your ad is getting laughs when it wasn’t meant to, turn that error into new customers. Laugh at yourself, unless you’re promoting “KKK Wednesday”.
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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