Social media marketing really came into its own this year, and along with the great success stories of campaigns like Melbourne Metro’s “Dumb Ways to Die” and Skittle’s contests, there have been some spectacular failures. And when I say spectacular, I don’t mean in a good way. Not only were some of these badly executed, they were bad ideas to begin with. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
- McDonald’s Twitter Stories Gone Wild – Imagine a board room somewhere in the hallowed halls of a New York City high rise filled with ad execs for MickeyD’s. Someone – possibly the guy voted most likely to be fired by the end of the year if he doesn’t come up with something good – has the idea that they’ll use a Twitter hashtag and a video campaign to showcase their suppliers talking about the ingredients that go into every bite of McDonald’s goodness. And someone else actually thought this idea good enough to put into practice. Unfortunately, as these things often do, the whole thing backfired. Users hijacked the hashtag to tell their own stories, and they weren’t of a flattering nature. And the thing won’t die. It’s still going strong. Search Twitter for #McDStories to see what I mean.
- Swedish Tourist Board Twitter Nightmare – No one knows the neighborhood like the folks who live there, right? With that thought in mind, the Swedish Tourist Board took it upon themselves to turn their Twitter account over to a different citizen of Sweden every week. They promised no interference, no influence. They only asked residents of their fine country to Tweet every so often. And Tweet they did. One not-soon-to-be-forgotten Tweet was 140 characters of the F-bomb. And another Tweeter was more concerned with anti-Semitism than the goodness of her Scandinavian homeland. But you have to give the Tourist Board credit – they neither pulled the plug on the campaign nor the campaigners. They stuck by their promises. Either that, or they just didn’t want to remind anyone who was really behind the fiasco in the first place. Read more here: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/06/13/what-the-fuzz-swedish-tourism-board-tries-to-explain-swedens-epic-twitter-fail/
- Odeous Odeon’s Facebook Fail – As the UK’s largest cinema chain, you’d think they’d have a better handle on the whole social media scene. (Well, all right, if big dogs like McDonald’s and the Swedish government can fail epically, I guess we could cut them some slack, but not much.) On a Friday during a long weekend in August, a dissatisfied and disappointed Odeon customer posted a complaint to the company’s Facebook page. All I can think of is that everyone at Odeon’s marketing department took the entire year off, because within a week there were thousands of comments, most agreeing with the original poster, and tens of thousands of “Likes.” And we must remember that what’s on Facebook stays on Facebook unless someone does something about it. To date, here in the end of December, the post now has nearly 300,000 Likes and over 25,000 comments. It’s difficult, I’ll admit, to wade through the comments to see if Odeon ever responded to the OP, but it doesn’t take a social media genius to know that someone should have done SOMETHING by now to get that thing off the page and out of public view.
Social media can be a great thing. We’ve seen overwhelming successes this past year. And if the expectations for next year are even partly manifested, we’re in for more goodies. As for the epic failures of this year, however, let’s hope somebody somewhere was watching and will try to do better. Probably not, but hey, at least I’ll have something to write about next year this time!