5 Disastrous Social Media Marketing Campaigns That Teach A Lesson

Find out about five huge social media marketing campaigns turned into fiascos and learn how to steer clear of these mistakes in your campaigns. 

social media marketing campaigns failed

5 Stories About Real Social Media Marketing Campaigns That Made Huge Mistakes that you Can Learn From.

Social media platforms have become one of the most powerful channels of digital marketing. Given its immense popularity and global reach, the phenomenon known as social media marketing was inevitable. Hundreds of brands, retailers, vendors and creators use platforms such as Blogger.com, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to promote their products/services and connect with a diverse audience. Social media marketing is one of the most effective & economic modes of advertising online. All you have to do is share engaging content of value & understand what the people want and voila! Sometimes the ability to reach millions of people isn’t a good thing and we’re going to some great examples of brands who really messed up with their social media marketing campaigns.

Today, everybody is investing in dedicated social media marketing campaigns. From freelance essay writers to mega-corporations, social media’s power drives such huge investments and made an excellent online social presence & expertise a must for every successful businessman, woman & organization. 

But, if social media marketing’s underpinning idea sounds simple, the implementation is a bit more complicated.

To attract a massive audience and keep them impresses with consistency requires a careful marketing strategy, capable content creation teams, and proper analytics & monitoring. There’s a reason why companies are investing millions, and several brands hire professionals marketing teams for their campaigns. 

Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., shines the spotlight and puts that entity out in front of the billion-strong online population. An excellent strategy can rake in the big bucks, and any misstep will not just cause substantial financial losses but might irreversibly damage a brand’s reputation.

Now, as the title of this write-up might suggest, we will be looking at  5 critical mistakes to avoid at all costs in social media marketing campaigns. So, let’s find out all about them.


5 Critical Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid 

Social media can be a tricky maze to navigate due to many reasons. Pandemics, economic downturns, controversies, mass revolutions, changing market trends and the unpredictability of human nature are just some things that can throw a wrench in the best of plans. 

You might be an excellent essay writer with an online academic service but might end up getting sacked with a simple wrong Tweet or derogatory Facebook post. A company might do a thousand right things and garner only a fraction of attention you aimed for. And, a single destructive mistake might get all the bad publicity to bring down you or your brand’s reputation. Many firms have suffered from such marketing mistakes and had to initiate substantial damage control to mitigate the devastating consequences.

Here are five stories that highlight five social media marketing to avoid at all costs.

  • Kenneth Cole’s Twitter Tragedy 

The American urban fashion line Kenneth Cole initiated a disastrous Twitter promotional campaign when it decided to use the Cairo uprising & Arab Spring revolution to promote its spring collection. People were naturally dumbfounded and appalled as Cairo, and the Arabian Peninsula were a serious matter.


The brand joked about a country’s revolution to draw attention to its spring fashion line, and things backfired like a faulty engine. 

Research is a crucial aspect of any successful promotional campaign. It is vital to be well-aware of global events as news spreads like wildfire on the Web & any impactful news can drastically affect the mindset of an audience. Simultaneously, ethical practices are must, and promotions should NOT be done by leveraging any disastrous or grave situation. 

Bottom line: Never use anything that might be hurtful to anyone’s or any community’s sentiments. 

  • Adidas’ Boston Marathon Email Fiasco

The Boston Marathon Bombing was a painful and horrifying incident. In 2013, two pressure-cooker bombs detonated near race’s finish line, killing three and severely wounding many others. 

American sportswear giant Adidas made a massive faux pas by sending a misworded marketing email to all of its customers who participated in the marathon. The subject line of the email read “Congrats. You survived the Boston Marathon!”  

The phrasing could not have been any worse. Adidas faced massive backlash across social media platforms, and the company’s spokesperson apologized for the email’s gross insensitivity.

Bottom line: Any publicity is NOT good publicity! Research well before leveraging any event’s popularity, DO NOT refer to any negative incident for some quick attention and always be sensitive towards your audience.

  • Burger King’s  UNSocial Facebook Campaign

In another hilarious social media marketing campaign mistake, American fast-food chain Burger King initiated a Facebook campaign called “Whopper Sacrifice: You like your friends, but YOU LOVE THE WHOPPER!” urged participants to be unsocial.

The company would send a coupon for a free whopper burger to any participant, who would remove ten people from their friend lists. Naturally, this quite unsocial promotional campaign resulted in a lot of dismay and confusion. Its core idea was just the opposite of what social media marketing was all about: connecting & spreading a piece of news. 

The contest was a failure as Facebook shut down the campaign due to privacy issues as 

Bottom line: Social media marketing should be social and focus on utilizing users’ connections to spread a message. Starting campaigns that urge people to resort to anti or unsocial behaviors such as defriending their friend will only lead to disaster.


  • Kaiwei Ni- Instagram Incident

Chinese footwear manufacturers Kaiwei Ni participated in misleading advertising, click-baiting and exploiting a feature of an online platform to lure its customers to a landing page.

The company published an ad on Instagram Stories, and it fooled users into believing that there was a stray hair on their touchscreen. It was a smart trick but aimed to mislead people into swiping up their Instagram screens, which would redirect them to Kaiwei-Ni’s Black Friday sale. 

As a result, numerous users were inadvertently redirected to sites that forced them to look at products they had no interest in buying. The ad campaign violated Instagram’s marketing policies, and the account was suspended indefinitely. 

Bottom line: Misleading the audience is a cardinal sin in marketing. Underhand techniques such as click-baiting and random redirects will push away even the most loyal of customers. And, remember to abide by the policies of every social media platform.

  • Microsoft’s Miscreant Twitter Bot

Software giants Microsoft released a machine learning Twitter chatbot Tay capable of learning by conversing actual users. Things went awry when malicious individuals exploited and misused the bot to post racist, sexist & highly offensive tweets. 

Online miscreants interacted and manipulated the bot to post numerous offending Tweets. It was a disaster for Microsoft as they were forced to remove the bot and faced huge flak for not adding features that would prevent misuse. 

Bottom line: Never forget to proof-check and review the tools & ideas of your promotional campaign. Whatever the kind of promotional content, make sure it’s safe from misuse and exploitation.


Well, those were five social media marketing disaster stories that highlighted 5 grave mistakes brand committed. 

So, before wrapping things up, let us take a look at the key ingredients necessary for crafting a practical, flexible and sensible social media marketing strategy.

Leveraging Social Networking The Right Way

One of the critical reasons behind social media’s immense marketing potency is the network effect. Content is king and word-of-mouth buzz & link sharing play a massive role in spreading the word. The network effect occurs when a person engages with something (likes, shares, comments) on something and people in their friend list or network learn about it. 

A quick look into Audience Insights at Facebook for Business will reveal that an average business page has a 300 times greater reach than its fan base, courtesy of the network effect. Your strategy needs to leverage this effect in the best way possible and connect with audiences to spread better brand awareness, impress, engage and convert. Platforms like Instagram can help giant online educational platforms, and freelancing essay writers reach hundreds of thousands of followers with the power of a creative & interesting post. 

A successful social media marketing campaign must comprise the following:

  • A clear set of objectives and a set target
  • Dedicated workforce and other necessary resources
  • Copious amounts of research 
  • A proper target audience
  • Content that’s interesting, engaging and sensible
  • Proper monitoring of results
  • Fine-tuning and optimizing for better efficacy

It is essential to review and reflect on any message you put out there for the public to see. We need to understand what the public wants and respect their sentiments & ideas to get the maximum out of any campaign.

No matter what the product/service or the platform, we must remember one infallible truth: CONTENT & CONSUMER ARE KING!