America is a nation that is driven by the consumer. As such, advertising is a staple of our culture. Marketing campaigns are being thrown at us in every direction we turn. Some of these advertisements are successful; while others are marketing disasters. What follows is a list of 5 huge marketing missteps.
1. Holiday Inn Sex Change- Clever advertisements are the biggest hit or miss form of marketing out there. If viewers “get the joke”, your company could strike gold. If they don’t, you could be shooting yourself in the foot. Holiday Inn’s sex change commercial is an example of the latter. In the late 1990’s, Holiday Inn ran a Super Bowl ad depicting a woman changing into a man. The correlation was that Holiday Inn was undergoing major changes and renovations. Unfortunately, audiences didn’t laugh at the commercials, and gay rights activists were less than pleased. Lesson: Don’t try to be too clever. Just get your message out in a clear, easy to understand manner.
2. Chevy Tahoe User Ads- File this under “Viral Marketing Gone Bad.” Back in early 2006, Chevrolet teamed up with the hit show The Apprentice for a promotion that allowed users to upload their own commercials for the Chevy Tahoe. Let’s just say that things didn’t quite go as planned. Users started uploading commercials with less than flattering reviews of the Tahoe. Chevrolet did their best to control these criticizing ads, but the damage had been done. Here is just one example of the type of ads that were flooding the user generated website. http://youtube.com/watch?v=SiE4FXO8nDs Lesson: Don’t set yourself up for failure. Anyone with half a brain could see this backlash coming from a mile away. (more…)