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The Don'ts of Marketing Promotions

Marketing Tips, Insights, and Trends

The Don’ts of Marketing Promotions

Author: Rachel Durkan Category: B2B, B2C, Marketing, Non-Profit, Retail Date: May 1, 2015

The Don'ts of Marketing Promotions

Marketing promotions are a great way to increase brand awareness and create a lasting impact with your target audience. No matter the promotion, it should always reinforce your brand’s core values and messaging strategy. This will ensure that no matter the type of marketing, your brand will send out not only the desired message to your consumers, but the right message.

Here are some examples of marketing promotion FAILURE. Here’s what “NOT” to do!

1.  CEO of LifeLock Gets Personal

LifeLock is a company that prevents identity theft. An illegal trend that has increased in popularity over the past couple years. In order to show confidence and trust in his brand and his services, Todd Davis (CEO of LifeLock) publicly announced and advertised his actual social security number. Although the damage was not extensive, a number of thieves were successful in using the information multiple times.

Even though the Davis’ point was made, never risk your company and your brand for a marketing promotion. A promotion is meant to bring individuals to your company, not give them reason and doubt to not use your services/products.

2. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Goes Tagging

Aqua Teen Hunger Force is a popular TV show that airs on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim program. In order to create a buzz about the show (although already quite popular among its adult swim audience) decided to install LED displays depicting one of the shows characters all across major cities from Boston to New York to Los Angeles. Cartoon Network was successful in creating a buzz, but among the wrong crowd. It was assumed to be part of a citywide bomb scare which led to extensive police investigation which led to buildings and road to be shut down across these major metropolitan cities. Turner Broadcasting in the end paid $2 million in fines to Boston PD, Department of Homeland Security. Jim Samples, head of Cartoon Network for 13 years, soon after was forces to resign from his position.

Moral of the story folks…even marketing isn’t above the law. Never let the cost and risk of your promotion outweigh its potential return and reward.

3. Holiday Inn Gender Blunder

In the 1990s, the hotel chain, Holiday Inn announced a major renovation that would cost billions of dollars, so that their hotels could “get with the times.” Finally, after years of updates and renovations, Holiday Inn was ready to come out and advertise their major improvements during the 1997 Super Bowl. The commercial that aired shows a man and a woman reunited at a high school reunion. The man is depicting trying desperately to guess who this woman is from high school, only to find out that she “was” Bob. The voice-over the ad states that “Bob” spent money to find success. This campaign did not sit well with the LGBT community. To Holiday Inn’s dismay, their campaign was not as successful as their renovations.

When it comes to creating your marketing promotion material, keep in mind that although you have a specific target market in mind when tailoring your marketing message, other individuals will see your promotion and can impact the success of that campaign. When in doubt, always follow the business golden rule: “Don’t say anything, that you wouldn’t want a business to say to you.”

To read about more marketing failures, click here.

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