What are bad examples of content marketing

6 nasty content fails from companies

One would think that large companies in particular have a certain amount of social media know-how. Or, at least the right experts ensure that the company profiles on the social web are neat. In the following posts, however, the question arises who slept there ...

Table of Contents

1. Chrysler - The tone, please!

Crysler's post was a few years ago, but that doesn't make it any less worth reading. The car manufacturer has already invested in external social media specialists. However, we are not surprised that the contract with New Media Strategies was not renewed after a tweet from an employee in 2011. Although Twitter leaves little room for twittering, the few characters were enough to leave a lasting (bad) impression. #WTF


1. A moderate tone of voice makes a better impression.

2. A social media agency should be examined very carefully
before a contract is signed.



2. CelebBoutique - context is everything

Let's work our way into 2012. There, the online mail order company CelebBoutique made a faux pas that had washed itself out. Back in those days, “Aurora” was a trending hashtag on Twitter. Actually, there is nothing wrong with a company using such a hashtag for its own business purposes. In terms of marketing, it is actually very clever. Actually ... If only it weren't for the context that is best researched before using it.

CelebBoutique used the hashtag #Aurora to refer to an outfit of the same name from their own collection. What the company hadn't considered, however, was the reason behind the creation of the trending hashtag: a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. There were dead and injured.


It was only after about an hour that the company removed the tweet from Twitter and instead issued an apology. It was also pointed out there that the agency responsible was not based in the USA and was therefore not informed about what was happening.

Yes, the apology also bounced off many social media users. They used Facebook and Twitter to express their displeasure with this apology. After all, location and time zone should not release any company from their duty of care within social media. What do you mean?

Learning:Here, too, it is worthwhile to select the social media experts very carefully to work with. It is therefore definitely worthwhile to spend a little more money in order to commission a company in your own latitude with the posts.


3. Epicurious - morale before profit!

Have you already shaken your head? Then it gets even better (correctly it should read: "worse"): If at least one of the two previous post examples was an accidental misstep, the next example made a conscious decision to publish exactly this post. You could say that a company here has chosen a national trauma for its social media contribution out of pure greed for profit.

The food community Epicurious tweeted the following after the 2013 Boston Marathon attack:



Learning:Your own business interests should never negatively affect the well-being of others. In short: this post did not work. Immoral. Uh!


4th Pril - "My Pril, my style" out of control

In 2011, Pril launched a legendary crowdsourcing campaign that went viral, but not in the sine the brand would have liked. During the campaign, users were given the opportunity to design their own Pril bottles. The ten best designs were to be selected via community voting. From this pool, in turn, a jury was to choose two winners, who were to fill the supermarket shelves in a limited edition. We think it's a great concept. Yes, then it got funnier than Pril would have liked:

Above all, users voted for funny, bizarre designs. A design with sausages, the Rage Guy meme or an inscription with “tastes delicious like chicken” was among the favorites of the users. Pril found these designs to be inadequate for his product and unceremoniously manipulated the voting results. The result: a huge shit storm.



Learning: Such campaigns are actually a great idea to generate followers or to create closer customer loyalty. Nevertheless, it should be ruled out in advance during the conception through appropriate conditions of participation that the action gets out of hand. Whereby, the design is not that bad after all!


5. DiGiorno - #kontextfail the second

Here, too, a company has tried a trending hashtag. And, here, too, jumping on the hashtag train went badly wrong. US pizza producer DiGiorno posted a Twitter post in September 2014 with the hashtag #WhyIStayed. This was not without consequences:

Like CelebBoutique, DiGiorno apparently did not find out beforehand in which context the hashtag used was created. We clarify: The hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft were used by victims of domestic violence to share their experiences and to tell other users why they stayed with their tormentors or left them. Did DiGiorno's apology, which it tweeted shortly after the post, suffice? If you have the damage, you don't have to take care of the sport - or the shitstorm ...



Learning: Thinking about posting a post is a good place to start. Even better, if you don't use trending hashtags without meaning and understanding. Inform first. Then post.


6. SNOWZ - Other cultures. Other values.

That light skin color is considered a status symbol in Thailand should be known to many. It looks completely different with a dark skin tone. Whether one thinks that is a good thing is another very question. A Thai cosmetics company has made a huge mistake with its advertising campaign. The worldwide availability and retrievability of social media certainly offers countless advantages in terms of advertising. For this company, however, it was a shot in the oven. If the commercial was approved in Thailand and met with acceptance there, it looked very different, especially in Western countries.

Worldwide outrage, an official, public apology from the company and a cross-channel campaign halt were the result.


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Learning: Anyone who does marketing and communication in social media must be aware of their reach. Different cultures and ideals meet here. What is accepted in one's own country is far from being recognized in other countries. And that's just as well.


Can you think of any more content fails, or would you like to add your mustard to the selected posts? Always bring it on! We look forward to your comment.




Posted in Content MarketingTagged Fail