Friday Buzz: Biggest Marketing Failures of 2017

A major marketing mistake can have a hugely negative impact on any organization. Learn a valuable lesson from big companies that made insensitive ads about sensitive topics. Also: important things to say to new hires on their first day.

What do marketers and advertisers fear the most? Pushing out a campaign that gets a ton of buzz for totally missing the mark—especially when it comes to exploiting people’s pain.

Just think about the Kendall Jenner “Live for Now” Pepsi ad from earlier this year. In it, Jenner ditches a modeling job to join a protest where tensions between cops and protesters are rising. To alleviate that tension, Jenner hands one of the police officers a can of Pepsi. “Arguably, the biggest brand gaffe Pepsi committed with this spot was putting its product in the center of social issues while simultaneously trivializing said issues,” writes Kristina Monllos in an article for AdWeek.

Facebook also took a public relations hit for Hurricane Maria insensitivity. Mark Zuckerberg showed off the company’s Facebook Spaces VR app by having his cartoon avatar tour the wreckage in Puerto Rico after the hurricane. “Facebook’s decision to conduct a ‘magical tour’ (as Zuckerberg dubbed it) of the damage was seen as exploitative,” says Monllos.

The takeaway from these public flubs is to consider how your marketing materials could be viewed from multiple perspectives.

Pumping Up New Hires

Your new hires are excited to join your organization, but beyond just introducing them to the team and giving them the WiFi password, there are things great bosses should share with new employees to start them off on the right foot.

First, make it clear to the new hire what makes your association stand out and its value proposition. “Explain how the employee’s job directly creates value,” writes Jeff Haden, author of The Motivation Myth, in a new LinkedIn post. “Explain how the employee’s job directly helps the business create and sustain a competitive advantage. Make a clear and direct connection between the employee’s efforts and the company’s main purpose.”

Other Links of Note

Nobody likes standing in line. Event Marketer shares a few ways to alleviate some of the pain of waiting in line at your next meeting.

Bad news, email marketers. Google Inbox is starting to prompt users to unsubscribe from certain email lists, reports Android Headlines.

What does next year hold for the business world? Inc. shares 18 trends that may have a major impact.

Kendall Jenner's Pepsi ad was widely criticized for its protest motif. (YouTube)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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