27 January 2012 | Team Tamar

Tamar’s Friday #FailureToLaunch #15 – “This post is NOT sponsored”

It’s been an interesting week in the world of marketing and social FAILs, with one particular story initially looking like it was just going to be a simple one, but actually opening up a much larger can of proverbial worms on the topic of online marketing. So without further ado, let’s dive in…

Rio Ferdinand and Jordan go nuts!

It all began on Sunday, when glamour model Katie Price posted some strange tweets on her official Twitter page. The first simply read “Great news about China’s GDP figures” – and was followed more by several more uncharacteristic tweets from the glamour girl, commenting on various heavy issues.

It soon became clear that Price was taking part in a campaign for Mars, promiting their “You’re not you when you’re hungry” strapline for Snickers (see below for all the tweets) – and initial reaction seemed quite positive. (see my colleague Milly’s post on it here: “Bamboozled by Katie Price and Snickers?“) All the usual commenters had their say, and whilst some suggested Jordan had been a little unclear, most admitted that it was quite a clever idea. Our favourite response was Business Insider‘s Joe Weisenthal, who wrote “Our only conclusion is that Eurozone/China/macro stuff is now such a big deal that everyone wants to chime in, and has opinions”

Two days later, footballer Rio Ferdinand joined the fray, with several tweets suggesting he was getting in to knitting in a big way – with the same inevitable punchline a few tweets later. It was at this point that it all appears to have gotten a little much for some people – the BBC are now reporting that the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) received several complaints and are now investigating both Mars and the two stars.

Nuts, eh?

LA Fitness’ Popularity Lunges

Gym chain LA Fitness faced a bit of a PR nightmare this week, thanks to The Guardian and a wealth of appalled Twitter users. You can read the entire story over at the newspaper’s website, but here’s the in-a-nutshell summary:

Pregnant woman and husband try to cancel their gym membership; Gym says “Take a hike” and waves terms and conditions in face of couple; Couple write to Guardian, asking for help; Twitter gets hold of the story; LAFitness starts trending (and not in a good way); Various famous people say bad things about them; LA Fitness eventually back down, apologise and hopefully learn their lesson.

A definite victory for people-power, though a shame that it takes a result like national humilation to convince a company to act…

McDonalds McFail

This one is an “old faithful” FAIL, which many large firms have fallen foul of – the interesting thing in my opinion is how it took so long for McDonalds to fall for it! Yes, it’s our old friend the Hashtag-hijacking!

Here’s what the Huffington Post had to say about it:

“A Twitter campaign by McDonald’s aimed at spreading good news about the firm has backfired spectacularly – with people using the #McDStories to highlight their worst experiences of the fast food chain.

The exercise began with the firm deciding to share the “love and passion” that goes into producing the beef for “our burgers”.

It continued with an invitation to meet “some of the hard-working people dedicated to providing McDs with quality food every day”.

But rather than opening the floodgates for praise, the move prompted an outburst from users who began posting the specially-created hashtag alongside horror stories.”

The story got picked up by almost every major news outlet, and McDonalds were quick to admit it had backfired on them.

It was very interesting to watch the story unfold, and if I can buck the trend slightly, I think McDonalds should be praised for at least recognising their mistake and not blindly carrying on, as Quantas seemed to. They even went as far as to dispute some of the claims (though not all – probably wisely!) as you can see from their exchange with Twitter below:

Bayern Munich Drop the Ball

Football club Bayern Munich upset their fans when they promised to reveal a new signing on their Facebook page – only to reveal that it was actually just a hoax to get people to “Like” their Facebook page and use their new app. You can read all about it here, but I’m not going to give it too much publicity for one simple reason: A lot of the stories we cover in Failure to Launch are mistakes, cock-ups or simple niavety. This is none of those things – it’s just an out-and-out lie, and I hope their receive the backlash they deserve as a result of it…

And that’s the final whistle – see you next week!

Team Tamar