Although we’re only 4 months into 2019, I think we can all agree that already, we’ve seen some pretty dodgy marketing campaigns.
We published a piece back in July Last Year titled The Worst Marketing Campaigns of 2018 and it did far better than expected.
Strangely, it seems as though our readership is a bit sadistic and likes to point and laugh at other companies when things go horribly wrong.
Well so do we, so we thought we’d write a similar post for the first quarter of 2019.
You’d think that some business’ would think a little more carefully when discussing and eventually producing their marketing and advertising campaigns, but sadly, not all gambles pay off - the law of averages just makes it so.
So without further ado, below are some of the worst marketing campaigns so far in 2019.
Starbucks “Blonde” Espresso
Introducing Starbucks new blonde Espresso. Sounds delicious, doesn't it?
However, it took me about 20 reads to make sense of this campaign and to work out what Starbucks were actually on about.
Starbucks messaging is normally pretty simple and fine-tuned - just as you’d expect for a company with an annual revenue of $24.72 billion.
Whether the writers working on this project had too much coffee or not enough is unclear, but they’ve taken a different approach here, that’s for sure!
It’s obvious that the colour is different. But the bit about being "Starbucks coffee company so we're going to do the opposite of everything we've ever told you is important about our coffee just because we can" is an odd rant to say the least.
This is a very simple product to explain, so who knows why Starbucks went down this route?
I’d say Starbucks had had a stinker.
Key takeaway - Just because your message is clear and easy for you to understand, doesn’t mean it is for the people you're targeting.
You can do all you like to create a marketing strategy that draws people towards your brand, but people have very short attention spans these days; if your messaging doesn’t make it crystal clear who you are, what you do and why someone should be working with you, your marketing will be pretty ineffective.
Pure sex? don't think so Jim.
Erm, yeah, don't really know what to say about this one…
This is Jimmy iced Coffee founder Jim Cregan, and I think it’s fair to say that people aren't thirsty for his sex!
No matter how good your coffee, I think you may have gone a bit over the top on this one, Mr Cregan.
The last thing that comes to mind seeing this is purchasing your iced cold coffee.
All I see is a guy slapped on a billboard in his underwear. Not good.
And while they may not have Starbucks budgets, I doubt the decision to feature Jim himself was to skrimp on the costs of a model.
Key takeaway - There’s always a better way to grab attention.
And don’t feature your semi-naked MD in your marketing.
Calm, peaceful, reassuring? Anything but with MoneySuperMarket.
Money Supermarket is a price comparison website that helps people to find the best deals on a wide-range of different.
In trying to bring a calm message through this video it seems that some people - like myself - have looked at this campaign a bit differently.
The start of the video being as stressful as it is will be the bit that sticks with most people, and while I see what they’ve tried to do, I don’t think it wise to do anything that draws from your overall message.
It seems that MoneySuperMarket have contradicted themselves a fair bit.
Key takeaway - People will rarely remember what they read and watch, but will actually remember (as soppy as it sounds) how you make them feel.
Don’t take the risk of making people feel negatively towards your brand before doing a U-Turn and telling them the opposite.
Just keep it simple and have one, common theme running through your marketing.
If you want to be known as fast, for example, don't even bother with the word slow.
As times have changed, women have become a lot more valued by society as a whole.
However, it seems that German company Miele have decided to reinforce the 1950s housewife stereotype.
Their campaign to celebrate International Women's Day involved a series of images of models posing with their products.
The appliance manufacturer must’ve thought it was a great idea to share a photo of 4 beautiful women excited over a washer and dryer, completely missing the mark in the process.
Subsequently, Miele deleted the ads hours after they were posted.
Key takeaway - When it comes to sex, race, gender and anything else that’s a key topic of discussion these days, steer clear of risk. There’s just no point putting yourself in the limelight on these kinds of topics. It’s often said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But trust us, there is.
All of these campaigns - and the people who created them - came with good intentions.
However, none have achieved what they set out to.
While we’re all for risks, make sure yours is one worth taking, and also be sure that what you’re trying to so is crystal clear for everyone - not just you and your team.