Marketing in 2016: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
With the beginning of a new year comes the opportunity to reflect on the highs and lows from the previous year. In light of this, I’ve taken a quick look at the marketing in 2016 that made me laugh, cringe, and squirm in my little Wonder-boots.
Spotity – Thanks 2016, it’s been weird
My personal favourite of great marketing from 2016 has to be Spotify’s global outdoor ad campaign, which waved goodbye to the year with a pinch of salt.
The Spotify marketing team tapped into their customer’s data and pulled out some of the more unusual and questionable stats. These were some of my favourites:
“Dear person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day…What did you do?”
“Dear person who made a playlist called “One Night Stand with Jeb Bush like He’s Bond girl in a European Casino,”….We have so many questions.”
“To the 1,235 guys who loved the “Girls’ Night” playlist this year…We love you.”
Chief of marketing at Spotify, Seth Farbman, acknowledged that “there has been some debate about whether big data is muting creativity in marketing, but we have turned that on its head…for us, data inspires and gives an insight into the emotion that people are expressing”.
I couldn’t agree more, and although tapping into your customer’s data is typically never a good idea, Spotify have managed to achieve a personal touch without getting ‘too’ personal – although we can’t say the customers felt the same after seeing their private playlists up on display! Eeek.
A close runner up of top marketing in 2016 includes…
CIF – The 02 clean
If you thought cleaning your hob and microwave was a task too much, think again… To prove that the household product CIF really is up to the job of cleaning just about anything, the brand volunteered to spruce up the 02 Arena North Greenwich venue roof, which hadn’t been touched since 2007…eugh.
Over the span of 12 weeks, CIF employed the help of their ‘clean team’ to completely blitz the 02 arena roof, all documented via their social media platforms. The slogan of the campaign which appeared across the internet and on various signs around the 02 was “While you raise the roof, we are cleaning it”. The update videos of ‘The 02 Clean’ attracted millions of views and according to Gemma Cleland, Unilever’s executive director of homecare of marketing, caught the eye of a whole new demographic for the brand
What I loved about this campaign was its ability to turn the boring and bland into something bizarre and brilliant. CIF gave customers the opportunity to see their product in a way they had never considered before and showcased it all on the top of the capital city.
Coca Cola – Geographical slip up
What started as a hopeful Christmas ad for Coca Cola in 2015 turned into a PR disaster by the New Year. The fizzy drink giant learnt the hard way that Russia does not tolerate geographical errors – even if it is Christmas. The brand sent out a tweet featuring a cartoon of a snow-covered map of the country covered in snow and Christmas trees…sounds innocent enough?
Unfortunately for Coca Cola, the map was outdated, and failed to account for certain areas that were seized following World War II. The Russians retaliated to the error in force, tweeting pictures of the drink being poured into the toilet, and the double blow of a trending hashtag #BanCocaCola. That campaign certainly did get flushed down the loo.
Total Beauty – Mistaken identity fail
Perhaps one of the worst social media disasters from 2016 is the Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg twitter fiasco (I still cringe just thinking about this). Total Beauty, an online beauty publication sent out a tweet in admiration of “Oprah’s” tattoos on the night of the 2016 Oscars…the problem was, it wasn’t Oprah at all. It was in fact actress Whoopi Goldberg. The backlash from this seemingly innocent slip up caused online backlash and even caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey herself.
If there’s anything to take from this social media mishap, it’s that these disasters (however public they become) can sometimes be rescued. However embarrassing this twitter slip up was, the brand Total Beauty were brave enough to laugh at themselves and accept their mistake with a pinch of salt. They apologised to the correct people, gave a generous donation, and laughed along with the rest of the Twittersphere.
Another stronger ugly contender goes to…
Quidco – The masters of deflection?
Last year the cashback site Quidco had a website malfunction during one of their busiest times of the year for retailers – Black Friday. The brand claimed the site was under service and would be restored shortly, but in the meantime, Quidco tried to win their angry customers back round with a little lighthearted deflection…
At the expense of Southern Rail and Hilary Clinton who have both had their fair share of bad press feedback, the tweets went down a storm with customers.
This tactic has divided opinion both on the internet and in Wonderland HQ. On one hand, Quidco were clever to join in with their customer’s frustration and accepted what was happening with a humorous spin. However, the difference between this social media fail compared with the likes of Total Beauty, is that instead of placing the joke on themselves, they deflected it on to other brands.
Although in this instance this tactic sparked a positive response on Twitter, it’s important to consider that deflecting your social media problems on to other businesses or public figures is NOT a tactic that should be considered lightly… Quidco pulled this one off, but that’s not to say that things couldn’t have got ugly!
From what I’ve seen in 2016, it seems this was a year of keeping things light-hearted and acknowledging that sometimes all you need is a bit of humour. Not only that, but sometimes giving as much care and attention to dealing with the aftermath of a bad campaign is just as important as putting the campaign together.
As for 2017, we’ll just have to wait and see what delights it brings!
Written by Meg