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August 15, 2012

5 social media campaigns gone horribly wrong

Take a look at 5 social media campaigns that teach what NOT to do when developing your business social media strategies.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Make sure your promotional hashtag doesn’t backfire

When Mcdonald’s launched #McDstories on Twitter, the company’s goal was to get customers to tell their favourite McDonald’s experience. However, consumers took to Twitter in a massive frenzy with nothing positive to say at all about the food enterprise. Many people voiced horror experiences and joked about health and safety risks when eating McDonald’s food.


A consumer’s perception cannot always be foreseen and there’s no guarantee that a hashtag campaign will never be hijacked. However, having a social media strategy in case your campaign takes a turn for the worse is always a wise thing to do.

Don’t tell customers they can’t do something well if they don’t do it with your product…

Nikon launched a campaign on Facebook in an attempt to get more consumers to buy high quality cameras. However, the company made the mistake of informing customers that a photographer is only as good as his (expensive) equipment. The company’s page soon filled with complaints from offended fans and Nikon ended up issuing an apology on its Facebook page.


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The smallest comment in a social media campaign can have a large impact on how it is received by consumers.

Bombarding customers with promotional tweets doesn’t fare well…

Toyota planned a massive Twitter campaign to promote their Camry during the Superbowl. The company created several accounts and sent unsolicited messages to anyone who used the Superbowl hashtag. Twitterers became annoyed and accused Toyota of spamming them with unwanted messages.

Camry effect

Despite poor timing, Toyota neglected to engage their users by sending personal and interesting tweets that users would actually want to retweet. Sending uncreative and promotional messages are unlikely to generate a positive response from consumers on social media platforms.

A social campaign that blatantly excludes another gender may bring unwanted controversy

Dr. Pepper’s launch of a soda that boldly declared its "not for women" with 10 "manly" calories caused unwanted controversy from men and women alike. The soda’s Facebook page also featured "Man Ments" with phrases like "Kissy faces are never manly" and "Thou shalt not pucker up." The company also launched a commercial where men told women to go drink their girly diet sodas and watch romantic comedies.

Dr. Pepper

The company claimed that their market research had revealed that men didn’t buy Dr. Pepper because it wasn’t masculine enough. Dr Pepper’s marketing campaign proved, however, that trying to target a specific consumer group at the expense of alienating another will almost always backfire.

Target the right audience

Ragu launched a campaign that produced videos of moms talking about how dads couldn’t cook. The company then sent the video to dad bloggers on Twitter which received backlash for stereotyping dads and their parenting skills.


The target group for Ragu’s campaign was catered to a female audience but was marketed to a male audience. Ragu’s campaign might have had less of a negative impact and may have even been successful if the right audience had been targeted.

Please follow this author on Twitter @Tineka _S or comment below.

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