Social Media – Unsuccessful Campaigns In India

Social Media Campaigns are talk of the town in the current business environment and everyone wishes to be on the band wagon as soon as possible. Firms ask for ROI and are not ready to compromise on their social media presence. Though the excitement and willingness to reach the customer in real time is understandable, lack of a basic understanding of issues at times leads to unsuccessful campaigns. Firms then are puzzled over the failure, as every weapon in the Armour had been tried to get the users talking positive about the brand.

Let’s glance through some of the failed social media campaigns in India for better comprehension of the issue. These Campaigns tried hard but couldn’t capture the user’s mindshare.

  1. Lal Krishan Advani’s Social Media Campaign :


We saw Advani becoming Ad -Vani with his aggressive ad words 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

This is what one of the bloggers had to say after watching several irritating ads depicting Mr. Advani as the change agent. Obviously it didn’t serve the purpose. Indian Lok Sabha elections were around the corner, and Mr. Advani felt the need to be on social media to promote his brand.

Reasons for Failure:

  • Instead of trying to engage users online, to write more about him, sharing his views on current affairs and interacting with users, his Social Media Team decided to develop innumerable ads and linked these ads and videos to different sites.
  • As and when the user would access these sites, he would either see an unwanted ad or a video and would end up spoiling his online experience. Therefore, instead of creating a positive buzz around him, these undesirable online activities ended up harming his brand and did no value addition to his image. Though his party won the election, the win had nothing to do with his online campaign.
  • Instead of trying to engage with users, he ended up forcing ads and videos on them, which were brutally discarded by the users
  1. No takers for Congress ‘Main Nahin Hum’ (‘we’ not ‘I’): This time the Congress party decided to present a tough competition to Mr. Advani and launched its own social media campaign. The Campaign tried highlighting Congress philosophy for the elections and ads/videos etc. were posted on almost all the major online platforms –Facebook, you tube, twitter etc. Things however didn’t work out and there were hardly any takers for the campaign


Reasons for failure:


  • The Campaign had to no clear message to engage users, which was unlike its rival BJP. Users who saw the ads/videos had no idea as to what to make out of this campaign.
  • The party members were not prompt in replying to comments made online and many a times comments and questions went unanswered
  • Party didn’t try to engage young users and focused only on the poor. Forgetting the fact that, it was the young generation using social media and not the poor. Campaign had an audience-message mismatch
  • The Campaign tagline wasn’t catchy enough. It had a low recall value
  • The tagline used was a part of the competitor’s election speech and hence many users found it funny that Congress couldn’t even conceptualize a new tagline


  1. Maruti Suzuki ‘Young Driver’ Contest:

Maruti Suzuki Launched the Young Driver Contest online, looking for the best young driver out there. The initiative was successful, but social media couldn’t contribute much in the success and most of it –as company sources analysed- was due to conventional marketing only.  The company couldn’t generate enough buzz and leads from Social Media


Reasons for failure:


  • Regular search on the internet didn’t throw up much information about its online presence. The Buzz on social media was missing.
  • Written content on internet didn’t have mention of the opinion leaders. For instance, car experts or magazines
  • A dedicated application would have been better
  • There were no efforts from the company’s end to engage users online


This sets the stage for certain do’s and Don’ts’s in social media:

  • Keep revising your campaign strategy based on user feedback. Don’t wait for all the negative comments to pile up for taking action.
  • Engage with users and don’t force content on them.
  • Don’t oversell yourself. Social Media is not about you, but the users. Talk about a topic related to your product/service and then gradually move on to talking about your product.
  • Be ethical. Users do understand the intricacies of the content being updated online. Don’t lay a claim on something which doesn’t belong to you
  • Less is more. Keep it short and sweet
  • Have a back-up plan, in case it doesn’t work out as intended
  • Create a buzz and involve influencers


Though it has become a necessity to be on social media, you should be careful while drafting your social media campaign strategy. Considerable difference exists between conventional and Social Media Marketing, which requires understanding of certain basic social marketing principles and their appropriate application. What has worked in conventional set up might be completely uncalled for in Social Media. Firms and Individuals need to imbibe this concept to capitalize on the Social Media Advantage.


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