Failed Social Media Campaigns in India

According to some of the media reports I read, Indian organizations these days are using social media much more than the global average and their counterparts in emerging economies. Study of social media marketing among various social media-savvy organizations in India has thrown up some good insights.

With high adoption of social media platforms for advertisement in India, there are bound to be some campaigns that didn’t take off as expected or fell flat on face. Few of such campaigns that I can think of are –

  1. Blackberry India launched a 360 degree marketing campaign named “Action Starts Here” two years back. It also did an extensive campaign on social media and we try to find out how effectively it was done on various platforms.
    Blackberry, that was once widely referred as “Crackberry” due to the addictiveness of the device is dying a slow death. This comes at the time when the brand has been struggling after brands like iPhone and Android came into action and swamped the market shares. Since then Blackberry has been submerged either in technical issues or political controversies.
    Pundits have written it off but the brand is not yet ready to leave the forte. However, the brand seems not to be in any mood to bow down soon so it has launched an actionable 360 degree campaign first in Thailand and later followed it in India.
    The essence of the campaign was to find out what does Blackberry stand for and the answer was “Action” and the action starts right away from Blackberry. Hence, the campaign focused on “Action has a symbol” and the brand line was “Action starts here”.
    Along with other channels, the brand made sure that the campaign was not to be missed out on the social front too. The Facebook community of Blackberry India, witnessed the “Action Campaign” with an interesting contest followed by some engaging content. The brand designed a Facebook contest where it asked fans if there was something that they would like to change about their world, then what would it be. A mobile app was designed too to cover all bases. However even though the campaign was able to generate some buzz, it didn’t translate in engagement. The outcome, management was expecting was not achieved and heavy investment in both social and traditional media didn’t give returns.
  2. The second example that comes to my mind is the Flipkart Big billion day:
    The campaign used YouTube, Twitter and television to stream ads about much hyped big sale on Flipkart.com. Flipkart declared October 06th as a sale that has never happened in India with unbelievable discounts.
    However, when users tried to login early morning many of the discounted prices were not available or rather priced very high and then marked down by discount. These pricing tricks didn’t go well with customers.

Few of the learning from this case are –

–  A massive campaign like the one we witnessed above will attract people   from all sides. So make sure you one is able to ride on customer’s expectation. Such a campaign if not executed properly will benefit your rival businesses like it did to Snapdeal. Both ended up earning $100 million. So who is the real winner?

-Try not to fool your customers by inflating the prices of goods and then offering them at discounted rates. This is the world of social media.

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