Failed Social Media Campaigns in India

What truly defines a failed social media campaign? What are the worst social media campaigns online? What can be learned from the mistakes they have made?

Indian politician L.K. Advani tried to position himself in lines of Obama as a ‘change agent’.  He spent an average of Rs. 250Cr for his genuinely pathetic ad campaigns. He literally targeted all the Indian sites with his aggressive Adwords. Perhaps, while promoting himself insanely he forgot that ‘Advani is not a new product on the market’ which needs crazy branding!

Instead of connecting to the people online in a non-intrusive manner or mobilizing the bloggers to write about him, he preferred spamming the sites of the whole wide India.  His blog also didn’t seem to appeal to the audience much and he failed both in the elections, and on social media.

One of the famous Indian blogger writes about Advani’s campaign as follows:

“We saw Advani becoming Ad -Vani with his aggressive adwords campaign targeting every Indian site. At one point there were only his ads on every site we browsed.  The first and foremost reason it failed – We hate Ads.”

To promote its new McSpicy menu, McDonald’s launched a new campaign in April 2011 called ‘How Spicy is McSpicy’. The campaign was developed by McDonald’s global advertising agency, Leo Burnett. The campaign initially focused on creating a buzz around the new products to be introduced. McDonald’s then launched a ten-day pre-launch campaign to create a buzz around the new menu. When an order was placed at McDonald’s, the customers were given visiting card-sized slips that simply read, ‘Coming on 28th March. French Fries’ new buddy. Soft Serve’s new love. Chicken Maharaja Mac’s competition’

As the market for fast food in India was growing, McDonald’s faced severe competition from its rivals in the Indian market. Some of the competitors in the Indian market had introduced new cheaper menus to cater to the needs of the Indian customers. Some of them had also started to focus on offering more affordable and vegetarian products to the Indian customers.

Things to do & things to avoid:

  • Revise your marketing message once, twice, three times and even more to make sure you will get the least amount of attacks or negative feedback from your audience.
  • When using Facebook for your social media campaign, try  not to restrict comments and feedback to your Facebook page as “Wall Posts” instead, create a discussion board for more effective and dynamic two-way communication.
  • Never stray from the core or try to be something that you’re not. Being authentic, transparent and sticking to your overall image is very important.
  • Do not try to sell yourself too bluntly. If you feel you have a need to do so, do it through communication and involvement with communities and individuals on different suitable social media channels.
  • Be ethical; lying or purposely deceiving will not pay off as some might suspect.
  • Use Facebook techniques that are sure to pay off because not every Facebook feature or tool will fit into your image, vision or goals.
  • Learn when to stick to the “old school style”. The “more the merrier” concept does not always work. Remember: sometimes less is more.
  • If you mess up by mistake, always have a “damage control” plan. Luck is overrated and you need to be prepared in case anything goes wrong.
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