Customer Service Management, Marketing

Five Marketing Fails: Holiday Edition

The holidays are rapidly approaching, which means it’s time to figure out your seasonal marketing strategy. Don’t make these five mistakes!

No matter which industry you’re in, the holidays tend to be a busy time. If you’re selling products, it’s obviously a great time to meet your final sales goals, and if you’re selling services, it’s easy to market them as a must-have for the New Year when everyone’s making goals.

But there are a few marketing fails you definitely want to avoid. Here are five marketing mistakes other companies have made—and how to avoid them.

  • In 2016, Coca-Cola tweeted out a map of Russia … but it was missing Kaliningrad, which was annexed during World War II. It was also missing Crimea, but when it added both locations back in, it then angered Ukraine. Residents of Russia and Ukraine started an angry campaign where they snapped photos of Coke being poured down the toilet. Stay away from hot political issues during the holidays—even if they seem as simple as maps!
  • When Kmart decided to open at 6:00 a.m. on Thanksgiving in 2013, it wasn’t received well. People were angry that their friends and family members would have to be working retail all day, particularly on a holiday that celebrates gratitude. But their response was even worse—they responded to every social media comment with the exact same statement, making them look robotic instead of authentic. If you’re going to respond to anger on social media, make sure to craft individual messages or put out one blanket statement instead of combining the two.
  • In 2012, Oprah tweeted out a promotional message for about using her Surface to buy Christmas presents … from her iPad. Oops! When working with affiliate marketers, make sure every detail is taken care of. When someone is speaking for your brand, they need to know how to do it effectively.
  • Gun laws are always a tricky topic, but when Glock tweeted out this picture of a gun in a pie in 2016, it simply left people scratching their heads instead of inclined to buy. Don’t forget that clear will always beat clever, and don’t go too out of the box for a family-friendly holiday.
  • Last year, this Mercedes-Benz commercial rubbed plenty of folks the wrong way. The boy came off as snarky, the families came off as elitist, and something about two families driving fancy cars but not giving their kids cell phones didn’t ring true. Remember the reason for the season in your advertisements, and run them by a test group before launching them into the world.