A possible nightmare

Let us imagine that you are a Head of Marketing within a known company. What would be your biggest nightmare? To get up in the morning and realize that the campaign that has been launched the day before turned into a disaster and went viral through all social media channels. You only have two questions - how did it happen, and do I need to look for another job?

Yes, not all ideas are great and yes – sometimes you must pay a huge price for such failure.

We would like to go through some famous examples of marketing execution. Some of them are known to be incredibly successful, while others brought nothing but failure.

They made it!

Even though some of these campaigns were launched quite some time ago, we still remember them. Despite a tight competition and unstable market, they simply made it.

The "Just Do It" campaign (Nike)

We are all familiar with Nike's "Just Do It" but how did it all start?

In 1988, “Just Do It” campaign featured professional and amateur athletes talking about their accomplishments and the emotions they feel while exercising.

One of the first television spots showed a video of 80-year-old marathoner Walt Stack who tells us how he runs 17 miles every morning. This short video created a positive and emotional response among viewers who were asking themselves: “if he can do it, why can’t I?”

The campaign was so convincing that people started reaching out to Nike with their personal stories. Within a decade, sales increased by $2 billion and “Just Do It” is still a core message, even after 30 years.

The "Get a Mac" campaign (Apple)

In the mid-2000s, Apple experienced quite significant decline ins sales. Company decided to show people more human side of the Mac and shape its reputation.

It was May 2006, when the first set of commercials for the Get a Mac campaign went live. They were quite simple - a minimalist all-white background with two men. One is dressed in casual clothes introduces himself as Mac, while a man in a more formal suit introduces himself as PC. The aim was to associate PC users with the "unpopular and old-school guy", while showing Mac users as young and creative. It was quite a provocative decision and yet it humanized the product and the company itself.

While these commercials were a direct comparison between Mac and Windows, Apple took a very deliberate strategic decision not come off as attacking PC. Otherwise, the ending of this story might have been different.

How they crossed the line

We all know that sometimes even big brands fail. Even those, who managed to build a sting brand image across the decades, make mistakes.

The "Real Body Bottle" campaign (Dove)

We absolutely love Dove and their dedication towards a positive body image. The “Real Beauty" campaign featuring real women is one of the most empowering campaigns we know. It has been running for over 15 years.

Then in 2017, the "Real Body Bottle" campaign was launched in England. It offered a limited edition of six bottle types. The idea was that women would buy the shape of bottle that they identify their body type to be. The release became a source of genuine concern on social media platforms, as women became more concerned about their body image that did not match any of the bottles offered.

Instead of reinforcing a strong body image, the campaign ended up increasing self-consciousness.

Chinese wedding commercial (Audi)

In 2017 Audi aired a commercial with an idea of how it is important to check out a car prior to the purchase. In the commercial, the groom's mother walks up to the altar and starts checking out the bride. She pinches her lip, pulls on her ears, and checks her teeth and tongue, before giving a nod of approval to her son. The tagline reads, “An important decision must be made carefully."

It goes without saying that comparing women to cars did not go very well. This commercial is an example of how a well-known brand can turn off its consumers, as it is rather offensive than humorous.

How to avoid a disaster

So now you know how some ideas can improve or harm your brand image. If you are in the process of creating or rebranding your business, we suggest reaching out to branding and marketing professionals. We would be happy to help you with a campaign execution, that will be aligned with your brand image.