Digital Marketing bloopers: A lesson learned

Safalta Expert Published by: Aryan Rana Updated Thu, 17 Nov 2022 12:03 AM IST


A marketing gaffe can severely deplete your budget for advertising in addition to causing reputational harm. The most frequent marketing errors that brands commit include misplaced messaging, bad campaign ideas, inappropriate imagery, and investing in incorrect channels.

Table of Content
Burger King's disastrous marketing campaign
Failure of the Snickers marketing effort
A mishap with the prize promise at Timothy's World Coffee
How to Handle Marketing Mistakes

Typically, when we think of "bloopers," we picture actors fumbling their lines or tripping on the set. However, there are many mistakes made in the marketing industry that can seriously harm a brand's reputation.

A marketing gaffe can severely deplete your budget for advertising in addition to causing reputational harm. The most frequent marketing errors that brands commit include misplaced messaging, bad campaign ideas, inappropriate imagery, and investing in incorrect channels.

Marketing gaffes happen all the time, from Lunya's impolite HandMaid's Tale underwear commercial to Pepsi China's horrific slogan translation, GAP's weird temporary branding change, and more.

Bloopers can range in size from little to large, but they all share the same trait in that recovery requires resources such as time and money.

Here, we examine two of the year's most embarrassing marketing gaffes—along with an older classic—and evaluate what we can learn from them to assist you to avoid making your own mistakes.

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Burger King's disastrous marketing campaign

As you can see, Burger King's above apology Tweet received a tonne of engagement—but for all the wrong reasons.

This Tweet was an effort to retract a marketing communication gaffe that was quickly removed when it caused controversy online. Women belonging in the kitchen was the initial marketing gimmick, but because there was little context for it, it quickly became associated with sexism. The tweet was sent on International Women's Day, a day set aside to recognise female strength and gender equality, thus the timing was particularly terrible.


Although the concept of changing things for the better was at the core of the campaign, it was buried deeper than a slice of pickle in a huge burger stack.

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The culinary business is in fact dominated by males.


When creating your marketing campaign messaging for a particular occasion or holiday:
  • Internally, communicate your thoughts and material to the appropriate people.
  • Obtain suggestions before submitting.
  • Avoid writing that is too contentious.
  • Pick your words, images, and concepts wisely.
  • Don't alienate your audience with your message; instead, use it to empower them.
  • Keep in mind that not all publicity is beneficial.

To make sure that everyone on your team and working with your brand is aware of the established tone of voice and adjusts messaging to all pertinent channels, think about implementing a social media style guide.

Failure of the Snickers marketing effort

When Snickers Spain published a foolish video advertisement employing one of the company's catchphrases—"you're not yourself when you're hungry"—it damaged the company's reputation.

The tagline itself is fine—in fact, it's a strong piece of copywriting—but the context in which it was used resulted in a tonne of unintended engagement.

After consuming a Snickers bar, influencer Aless Gibaja is shown in the advertisement changing into what Snickers refers to as a "manly man." Fast after the campaign's premiere, this homophobic narrative that implies being effeminate is harmful received high-profile unfavourable press.


Even if you do issue a full and candid apology, you risk losing significant portions of your target audience and current brand advocates if political parties and individuals are seen to condemn your marketing campaign.

Make sure influencers are appropriate for your niche or business before collaborating with them and make sure they feel at ease with your messaging by working closely with them. Building solid relationships with influencers is encouraged, as is staying away from divisive ad concepts devoid of wit or substance—as it nearly never works out successfully.

A mishap with the prize promise at Timothy's World Coffee

Last but not least in our list of marketing gaffes is an infamous instance of an earlier failure by Timothy's World Coffee, a well-known company that is still working to atone for its misstep.

In order to increase engagement and fan loyalty, the company provided its current and potential customers with a coupon or free sample in exchange for following them on social media.

Unfortunately, Timothy's World Coffee was overpromised and under-delivered, and as a result, its complimentary K-cup packs ran out in just three days. Timothy's sent a public message informing the public that the coupons and samples were distributed on a "first-come, first-served" basis nearly two weeks after its humiliating gaffe (that's a significant amount of silence). Although this message may have been acceptable to its customers right after the incident, the communication's delay generated an uproar, further damaging the brand's reputation.

Despite a second apology that seemed sincere and its promise to mail all displeased consumers a complimentary coupon, the harm had already been done.


If you're going to make any kind of promise to a customer through any consumer channel or touchpoint, such as an incentive, coupon, or freebie, you need to be sure you can fulfil it completely. Without exceptions No giving in.

You should never settle for anything less, whether you're promising free shipping for supporting your brand, hosting a contest with multiple prizes, or promising exclusive practical content in exchange for subscribing to your email newsletter. Every single one of your marketing efforts will fail if you don't constantly strive to provide value and establish your credibility.

Oh, and if you do make a mistake, address it right away in public rather than letting it drag on for hours, days, or (worst of all) weeks.

How to Handle Marketing Mistakes

Any negative consequences or feedback will surface on social media, regardless of the platform or channel you employ to run a campaign, and this can happen at any time, very rapidly. You must go through a procedure with your team to get ready for a social media catastrophe.

Learning how to control internet reviews will also help you successfully handle any negative news or attention.

What is the best digital marketing lesson to take?

Starting your own blog and drawing from your personal experience is one of the finest ways to gain in-depth knowledge about digital marketing. You'll learn about things like SEO, social media marketing, WordPress, and many other facets of digital marketing when you start your blog.

What aspect of digital marketing is most crucial?

When it comes to the website for your company, SEO is essential. Internet consumers locate your website using SEO when conducting searches on search engines like Google. Users will have a difficult time finding your website without an effective SEO approach.

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