In one of my earlier posts, I have mentioned about some of the most successful social media campaigns of India done beautifully by some very good brands such as National Geographic, Oreo and Signature. There were many more brands which did a fairly decent job in terms of the campaigns. In this post, I am going to talk about some of the unsuccessful social media campaigns happened in the past years within India. I will also mention about some of the most illogical blunders done by very famous established brands at social media.

#agarmakadudhpiahaito BY FORTIS HEALTHCARE

When you’re celebrating a Breast Feeding Week, you don’t come up with hashtags spewed by villains in 80s. But Fortis did. Mamma Mia, an initiative by Fortis Healthcare, decided to celebrate that Breast Feeding Week by asking it users to tweet using #AgarMaKaDudhPiaHaiTo. But you wouldn’t mess it up further like Fortis did. As it spawned negative reactions, they came up with a lame apology that their account was hacked. Serious dearth of reputation management! How can a mature brand like Fortis can do such a blunder at Social Media. Looked like one of the kids designed the social media campaign for them and then came up with the excuse that it was not him.


Burger King made an epic miscalculation when they came up with a Facebook “Whopper sacrifice” campaign that asked their fans to grab a discount by ‘unfriending’ 10 friends. Burger king offered a free hamburger to anyone who severed the sacred bonds with 10 of the friends they had accumulated on Facebook. Facebook soon came forward and asked them to withdraw the campaign which was a serious damage to their business model. However, almost 234,000 friends were terminated by the fans by then and created criticisms elsewhere in social media.


When Volkswagen India’s print campaign which had a small vibrator box pasted to their print ad received widespread criticism, they made matters worse in Twitter. When people started tweeting in absolute mockery, portraying the ‘vibrator’ campaign to be a women’s favourite, the company lashed out in a tweet that “women would be dumb to call it a vibrator. Or maybe they do not understand real driving experience. #PunIntended #Volkswagen #Creative”. The company was forced to take down the offensive tweet and apologized and then later came the same old excuse: Our Twitter account got compromised. We are investigating the issue. It is difficult to understand how these mature brands can hire such immature people who just post anything on the company’s official social media account. Is there no screening happening for each of the social media communication?

‘Like’ a tweet? – INOX

Character limitations in Twitter tend to create typos. But, does it create things that don’t belong to this micro-blogging platform? INOX, in one of its tweet promotions asked the followers to like a tweet. How can your social media manager mix Facebook with Twitter. Similar thing was done by Ford Fiesta, when one fine day it posted on Twitter “A very good morning everyone. Hit like if you had a fun weekend!”. These are silly mistakes which lot of brands are doing these days, probably because either the social media managers are not serious enough, or the brand is not serious enough towards its social media communication.


Indian politician Lalchand Kishan Advani, tried to position himself in lines of Obama as a ‘change agent’.  He spent an average of Rs. 250 crores 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.”


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