With Halloween right around the corner, those of us at AJA Marketing know there’s nothing better than a spooky story. It just so happens that marketing is full of blunders that make us break out in a cold sweat.

These scary tales can serve a purpose- to educate fellow marketers, and hopefully, inspire you to think double before you toil and trouble!

Tricks Without the Treat

There’s nothing worse than being deceived by an apple or a toothbrush when you expected candy. As an adult, brand giveaways that fall flat can feel a little like that.

In 2017, Sunny Co Clothing became infamous for offering a free swimsuit to everyone that reposted their now-renowned red swimsuit on Instagram. The company, which up until then had been an unknown brand, attracted one hundred thousand users within a day demanding a free swimsuit.

Most customers did not receive a free suit or paid outrageously high handling fees to receive it. The repercussions were severe, and while the brand’s engagement was boosted, the incident overall damaged Sunny Co’s reputation.

While giveaways can be a great way to boost consumer engagement, make sure you keep marketing campaigns within your means.

Skeletons in Your Closet

It isn’t just in movies that ghosts can come back from the dead and haunt you. In real life, past actions, particularly those immortalized forever on social media, can come back to haunt you and your brand forever.

Old insensitive or downright offensive tweets are oftentimes the culprits of modern-day PR crises. In 2018, Laura Lee, a beauty blogger and Youtuber, came under fire for racist tweets she had posted years earlier.

The crisis, followed closely by teens and makeup aficionados alike, was a marketing blunder for her public sponsor, Ulta Beauty. In the aftermath of the crisis, Ulta quickly canceled an imminent makeup collab with Lee, losing out on millions.

Remember- if your brand chooses to sponsor with a public figure, you will be associated with their past and present behavior, for good or for worse. Make sure to choose wisely.

The Headless Horseman

Marketing without a good deal of oversight is as tone-deaf as our headless hero.

No company is more aware of this than Burger King, which commemorated International Women’s Day last year with the tweet “women belong in the kitchen”.

While the brand quickly followed the tweets up with well-intentioned paragraphs about the lack of female chefs in the United Kingdom, the marketing staff was attacked for being offensive and sexist.

Moral of the story for marketers- make sure to properly screen your campaigns to fully understand what your target audience will think or feel upon viewing your content.

A Real-Life Frankenstein

Sometimes, a well-intentioned desire to create something new can damage your business and brand altogether.

Coca-Cola, one of the world’s largest companies, made this mistake in the mid-1980s by announcing changes to its classic, centuries-old beverage, which was beginning to lose market share. The “New Coke” rollout, as it was called, was universally disliked, and Coca-Cola soon found itself the subject of talk-show ridicule and even public protest. The backlash associated with changing their most popular product could have been avoided by simply keeping better promoting their popular product and its unique taste.

If you are thinking of making drastic changes to your brand, sincerely evaluate the change, preferably with data, to fully understand the implications.

Confused about how to promote your business? Interested in leveling up your brand?

AJA Marketing can help. As a woman-owned, small business, we know what it feels like to have a passion for the work you do, and a desire to share it with the world.

Contact us to set up a consultation with our team of industry-leading experts today.


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