“You learn more from failure than success” is a gem of wisdom bandied around often. And it’s apt in communications, where pushing the boundaries too far can be an occupational hazard when trying to create a stand-out campaign. But this blog is dedicated to the “You should have known better” moments; to the ideas so obscene and absurd that they ought to have been nixed before pen even got put to paper.
So, if you’re currently feeling forlorn/unappreciated or are on a general rampage because not a single person entered that competition you launched with a lovingly-prepared campaign six months ago, don’t worry. Tuck into the chocolate you were going to use as a prize and revel in the fact that someone else did it much, much worse…
Undertones of racism
PlayStation’s brainstorming session for a billboard promoting its new white unit took them to the tagline ‘white is coming’. Matched with an aggressive visual of a dominating white woman grabbing the jaw of a black person it’s simply unacceptable and was rightly pulled.
A taxi for Trump
After Trump’s January inauguration, we had only a few short moments to adjust to a new reality in the Twilight Zone before he issued the travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries. While NYC taxi drivers protested with a work stoppage, controversial disrupter Uber viewed it as a gap in the market. It ‘generously’ dropped surge pricing – an algorithm based on supply and demand – resulting in cheap taxi fares to the airport (it’s worth mentioning at this point that the Uber CEO was a member Trump’s advisory board). Lo and behold, the #DeleteUber hashtag reigned and 500k people cancelled their accounts.
Insult a vegetarian at your own peril
During Veganuary, Gourmet Burger Kitchen began to resolutely affront vegetarians with shock tactic ads. The campaign, including one-liners such as ‘Fancy a juicy 6oz lettuce? Nah, nor do we’ and ‘Cows eat grass so you don’t have to’. Unsurprisingly, the vegetarian community swiftly retorted with: ‘Gourmet Murder Kitchen, they kill the cow so you don’t have to’ and similar. The debacle escalated to protests, boycotts and a chorus of #GourmetMurderKitchen on Twitter.
Capitalising on capitalisation
Ed Sheeran was trending on Twitter this week with a hashtag to promoting a party held for his newest album. #sheeranalbumparty provided proof that we should all capitalise our hashtags.
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