Crackers Love Cheese… and Other Marketing Fails

This is a photograph of a plate of cheese and crackers.

Marketers pride themselves on developing creative, catchy, sometimes off-beat ideas to promote their products. Finding new and innovative ways to attract consumers is, after all, their primary responsibility, and it is not easy.  We look at things differently – turning it around to analyze it from all sides, looking for the seed of an idea from a marketing team that will take off.

There’s a reason marketing is best done in teams – they act as our filters to help us avoid the all-time #epicfail.  A team left unchecked can have some really bad ideas – the kinds that should NEVER see the light of day.

Every now and then a major marketing mistake escapes an ENTIRE marketing TEAM  – causing a collective audience of people to cringe – and other marketers to bow down to the copy editing gods, thankful it wasn’t their mistake this time.  Here are a few examples that help keep us on our toes and avoiding marketing fails:

  • Crackers LOVE Cheese – do you remember seeing this meme when it hit social media?  This promotion for crackers (the food) appeared in retail locations throughout the country, and was widely shared on social media accompanied by plenty of negative posts questioning whether it was meant to be humorous or a racial slur.  Google this campaign to see some of the fallout – is it me, or is there actually any cheese in the ad?
  • McDonalds learned a lesson about hashtag hijacking when they introduced the #McDStories promotion – only to find the Twitter universe exploding with negative McDonalds stories utilizing the hashtag.  They removed their post – but they couldn’t remove everyone else’s, so the negative hashtag use remained.
  • Poor Entenmanns – they tried to introduce a lighthearted new campaign using #notguilty, encouraging  people to lose the guilt when choosing to eat their treats.  Unfortunately their campaign launched the same day the verdict was delivered in the Casey Anthony trial – proving that when it comes to hashtag marketing #timingiseverything

These marketing fails may make you laugh – but the lesson here is that marketing is best done as a team sport. You can take credit for a brilliant concept  – but having a talented team of marketers and copyeditors on your side will only enhance your ideas and make them stronger.