This week’s edition of Monday Madeleines looks at the audacity of marketers who risk alienating customers/supporters/the public with their actions. In most cases, failure is in the eye of the beholder. Here are some examples of marketing fails or potential fails we thought you might enjoy. Happy Monday!
Questioning QR Codes on Billboards
It seems a number of brands are posting QR codes on billboards. Since using a QR code requires you to snap a picture of it with your mobile phone, doesn’t this send the wrong message? I suppose if you had a billboard in Times Square, where there’s a boatload of foot traffic (and cab riders stuck in traffic), it could make sense, but on a freeway? In this example, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio Graeter’s stores served up a QR code to promote breast cancer awareness as part of their Cones for the Cure campaign. Scan the code, fork over some personal information, and get a free scoop of ice cream. While it may be a noble cause, you can see from the photo with this story that the billboard was placed alongside a freeway. Is a scoop of Elena’s Blueberry Pie ice cream worth crashing the car? Thanks to @mktgwithmeaning (Bob Gilbreath of Cincinnati) for weighing in on this.
PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaign slogan is, “We’d rather go naked than wear fur.” It seems they also plan to roll out a new .xxx domain to use with it – peta.xxx. The site is expected to feature pornographic (PETA prefers to call them ‘erotic’ images) that will lead visitors to information and graphic imagery of how animals suffer in the food industry. It’s not the first time the organization has clamored for attention, but you have to wonder – won’t that eliminate anyone whose settings (such as those surfing from an office network) won’t allow them to visit .xxx sites? Thanks to @DanielShuman for baring this story.
Ben & Jerry’s New Flavor: Schweddy Balls
Ben & Jerry’s is introducing a new flavor of ice cream it calls Schweddy Balls. It’s a tribute to a hilarious Saturday Night Live skit with Alec Baldwin (see Video of the Week below), who played baker Peter Schweddy being interviewed on NPR. Ben & Jerry’s says it’s “Fair Trade vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum and milk chocolate malt balls.” Early consumer reaction is mixed, with some up in arms offended by the innuendo. Will this be a marketing fail or a smash hit for B&J’s? Too soon to say, but it was daring and clever and will be interesting to watch and see.
Video of the Week
NPR’s Delicious Dish – Schweddy Balls
Here’s the Saturday Night Live skit with Alec Baldwin that inspired the new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor. If you’ve never seen it, you’ll probably be rolling on the floor. If you have, you’ll probably enjoy reliving one of the most memorable (and controversial) SNL skits in its long history.
Did you enjoy this week’s edition of Monday Madeleines? Which were your favorites? Leave a comment and share your thoughts, an example of a marketing fail that gets your goat, or even your favorite marketing joke. No over-sharing here. (But if you somehow cross that line, we’ll let you know.)