The year 2017 has been a good time for many small, medium, and big companies to experiment with their online marketing strategies. While many tactics were successful, like Samsung’s Ostrich commercial that featured a flightless bird to market its VR headsets; and Coca-Cola’s Pool Boy featuring a father and son. These advertisements epitomize the innovations that come with marketing, showcasing creativity and the platform to speak on behalf of the company’s principles and stand on issues.
What are the top marketing fails of 2017? Here are some of the worst advertisements released this year:
1. Dove’s newly reshaped shampoo bottles
The release of a diverse array of reshaped shampoo bottles is Dove’s attempt to send the message that there is “beauty in diversity,” and that you are still beautiful whatever your body size and shape is. The principle behind the ad may be laudable, but then it also sent a wrong message: is Dove celebrating diversity, or is it accentuating the fact that some people are more out of shape than others? It may be a cultural issue given that there is always a push towards “political correctness” in the US. However, sadly, the ad was geared towards the US audience, and it didn’t work well with them.
2. Pepsi’s attempt to promote peace
Pepsi had Kendal Jenner as its mediator as she handed a Pepsi can to a police officer amidst a massive protest. The idea was to show that a can of Pepsi could unite people and make them forgive each other. Obviously, this ad didn’t go well and won’t go well with any audience. The message is just wrong and commodifies the idea that human rights violations are easily bought off and thereby forgotten.
3. Adidas’ congratulatory tweet
It would have been fine for Adidas to tweet out “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” by the end of one of the most prestigious marathons in the world. However, unless Adidas is really that short-sighted, the company forgot that the Boston Marathon was bombed back in 2013 costing the lives of so many local and foreign participants and spectators. Many wanted to boycott Adidas products because of this tweet, but the company was quick to apologize.
It is surprising that even big companies with large marketing budgets still commit advertising mistakes. The key takeaway here is the importance of authenticity in this day where consumers are fed up with wrong and confusing information. People are now more intelligent in understanding advertisements, and they are now not easily bought by colors, themes, and sounds that aim to send an underlying message. It is expected that 2018 will bring more authentic marketing strategies that could reflect a company’s principles and core beliefs.