Marketing Fails – A Definitive Guide on What NOT To Do

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Marketing Fails – A Definitive Guide on What NOT To Do

We’re only human, which means mistake are bound to happen. And when they do it is important to quickly re-evaluate the situation, admit fault where applicable and try move on from it.

Looking at other businesses and companies to see what their marketing strategies are is a great way to see what you can implement for your business. It is also a good way of learning what not to do.
This guide will showcase some big brand blunders of how a marketing campaign can go wildly wrong and a list of things of what not to do when carrying out a marketing campaign.

Brands that got it very wrong

Back in 2017, Pepsi had an advertisement that featured Kendal Jenner somehow ending police brutality with a can of Pepsi. I’ll take a minute just to let you read that sentence again. The ad saw protesters, at what looked like a Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the climatic scene of the ad saw Kendal, a white supermodel emerging from the crowd and hand a police officer a can of Pepsi, ending the protest. Even explaining this now, the ad sounds ridiculous, how no one at Pepsi didn’t think the same is beyond me. Following great backlash and criticism across social media, Pepsi released a statement saying:

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize,”

BLM activists at the time took to social media to express their disappointment in the ad, they described the ad as the exact opposite of their real-world experiences.
This is a great example of how not carrying out enough market research can ruin your campaign and damage your image. Not only of your companies’ image, but of any influencers you have involved too.

Burger King

Burger King usually have very good marketing campaigns, but this example goes to show that no matter how big of a brand you are, you can always slip up and make a mistake.

Burger King had intended to start a campaign to try increase the number of woman chefs and head chefs. As in their statement they mentioned that only 7% of head chefs in America were woman. But as part of a wider twitter thread, they tweeted ‘women belong in the kitchen.’ And to really add insult to injury, it was on International Woman’s Day.

Social media users slammed Burger King as being ‘tone-deaf’ for tweeting something like this. They most definitely should have included more of the message in the tweet. They still continued with the campaign but issued an apology for the tweet and then tried to swiftly move on from this.

“We hear you. We got our initial tweet wrong and we’re sorry”


Not doing case studies- Show off your work! If you have done work recently for a client, or even for your own company and are proud of it, make sure to make a show case of it. It is an excellent way to make current customers feel valued and a great way to attract new customers by showing off what you are capable of. Creating case studies and client testimonials are a great way to showcase some of your successes!

Not keeping an eye on numbers- monitoring your insights is an invaluable way of knowing what your customers and followers like to see. Not doing this and just posting whatever will be counterproductive for your business. Seeing what posts your followers are engaging with most gives you an idea or what to post more of. There is no point posting content your followers aren’t going to enjoy or interact with.

Fyre Festival

The infamous festival that never was. I was only first made aware of this when the documentary aired on Netflix, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

2017 wasn’t a good year for marketers. Fyre Festival was organised by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, and it was just one fail after another. It was advertised as a luxury music festival on an island in the Bahamas, which was promoted by numerous fashion influencers on Instagram, such as Bella Hadid, Kendal Jenner (not a great year for her too) and Emily Ratajkowski.

The event organisers promised the festival goers, first class flights, luxury accommodation and top-class catering. Instead, they were met with small air buses, half pitched tents, and a cheese sandwich. Customers ended up stranded on the island, event organised fled and stopped responding on social media. Which lead to the party goers live tweeting the unfolding events

If there was ever a case study of what not to do, the Fyre Festival is the perfect example of this.



Now from us

Now that we have explored where the big brands have gone wrong. We can provide a list of things of what not to do when it comes to implementing a marketing strategy for your business. They might all seem like a given, but sometimes it takes an outside perspective to point out where you could be going wrong.

Staying in your comfort zone – this is a big one. If you never push yourself to try new things for your brand, it will be hard to monitor any progression. Yes, it is important to keep doing what works for your business, but if you never look for ways to improve your marketing strategy or try fresh, new ideas, you run the risk of being stuck in a plateau.

Staying off video- video media is huge right now! With TikTok being so popular and Instagram Reels feature hitting the ground running, using video as a method of content is super popular. They rack in lots of engagement, which can help boost brand awareness. Don’t let the thought of it scare you, videos or reels can easily be made on your phone. Even start off with simple ideas like sharing tips and tricks, ‘a day in the life of’ videos are very popular recently too. There is a strong consumer preference for videos as a form of creating content and as a way of receiving information.


So, there we have it, a definitive guide on what not to do when it comes to creating a marketing campaign. If you ever do make a mistake, don’t feel disheartened, some of the biggest brands out there have too! But if there is anything we can help with, contact us at

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