As future-oriented as I could possibly be, when a good past year review is due, I deliver. In terms of marketing, the year was more than diverse. When you provide content writing services to businesses, you must be able to learn from both the best in the game and the ones that fail epically. So, without further ado, let’s jump into this recap of some of the worst marketing decisions of the year and acknowledge the useful lessons they can teach us.

The Rise of the Anti-Ads: Oasis and BrewDog

There is certainly a breath of fresh air when somebody tries to speak honestly about the ugly side of things. Just like the advertisers of Oasis, a Coca-Colla-owned brand, did with its anti-ad targeted at their audience. The message of it was simple: “We get it, you hate ads. But if you buy our products, we won’t bother you with them.”

BrewDog, a UK-based craft beer brand, took the same approach with its ad, claiming to be the most honest one you will ever see.

The lesson here: Brands are trying to speak the language of the crowd, calling things with their real names, and just generally, they try to offer “refreshing” content ever so often. The problem is that they often end up sounding cynical and self-defeating. Advertising doesn’t have to be all the evil there is in the world when it’s done right. The point of it is to showcase and shine a light on the best features of a product or service.

When a Stunt Goes Wrong: Tesla’s Cybertruck Fail

Tesla’s Cybetruck is an all-electric, futuristic-looking vehicle designed and marketed for its extreme sturdiness and majestic power. And yet, on its launch in 2019, one of the designers of the vehicle cracked its supposedly bullet-proof glass in what was meant to be a proof of its durability.

Well, maybe he was a little too hard. Yes, we all cringe a little bit on that first smash and then it was just sad. But:

The lesson here: Now, this one is a classic fail. Obviously, you don’t plan for one of the main selling features of your product to fail… at the official product launch. In front of everyone. Or do you? Some might argue, Tesla did it on purpose. Although, that’s not really their style and how they roll. Yes, Elon Musk is controversial, but Tesla never stood for mediocrity and failure.

If, however, none of this was scripted, this case of classic public failure teaches us that we really need to make sure that our services or products are actually advertised accurately before they hit the market. And especially if we are going to test them in front of a hyped crowd.

The Dangers of Misleading: Truvada’s Side Effects

Now, here is one you might not have heard of yet. It happened very recently, a few days ago and it involves some sensitive issues. Here’s the story: LGBTQ+ Facebook users’ have been flooded with ads about Truvada, a pill that’s used to reduce the chance of the transmission of HIV with up to 99%, run by a third party.

The ad, running on both Instagram and Facebook, talks about bone and kidney damage that Truvada can supposedly lead to. However, this information is not scientifically proven to be true.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? I mean, who’s a benefit is to lie about such side effects? Turns out the ads were paid by a law firm and the whole idea was to lead the reader to consider possible financial compensation from a potential product liability suit.

Not cool.

The page on the attorneys’ website has been suspended. Besides pointing a finger at the law firm, users put the blame on Facebook too. This is another lesson on its own. When you are the medium facilitating this information apocalypse, you carry just as much of the fault.

The lesson here: We live in an age of (mis)information and that’s becoming a huge problem when it comes to marketing. It’s the Fake News crisis and when people are bombarded with hundreds of messages daily, the credibility of each becomes questionable. You don’t have to be involved with any type of professional content writing services to know that’s bad content right there.

The moment your ads and campaigns lose the audience’s trust, that’s pretty much it. You have two options:

  • Do your best to justify your actions
  • Apologize and compensate the ones affected by the misleading information of your marketing efforts

If At First, You Don’t Succeed 🎶

Dust yourself off, in the wise words of Aaliyah

As humans, failing is our second nature. Marketers are just people and as such, they don’t always make great decisions, as you saw from the three marketing and content writing failures above. But, in this beautiful time of the year, when it’s great to analyze your past year and review the good, the bad, and the ugly, it’s worth starting with the bad… Because there is always good to balance it off.

So, stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll be looking at some of the best moments for marketing this year.