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Marketing Mistakes that became Marketing Marvels

1st of April 2019

An integral part of any campaign planning process is the troubleshooting for mistakes stage. As the times become more ethically conscious, it’s important to ensure that campaigns can’t be misinterpreted in a way that’s offensive to any group, and that nothing you put out there has the potential to reflect negatively on your brand.

In the past we’ve seen brands that have skipped this process to the detriment of their campaign. Remember when Dove launched that TV advert that saw a black woman seemingly becoming ‘cleaner’ by removing her t-shirt and revealing a white woman? Nobody is immune.

Mostly, these little mistakes lead to crisis PR, public apologies and brand boycotts, but occasionally we see brands making lemonade and turning their marketing disasters into hugely successful PR stunts. Our top four are listed below:


The Colonel is working on it.

When Kentucky Fried Chicken ran out of Chicken, it could have been pretty disastrous for the brand. Luckily, in true KFC style, they turned the whole thing into a joke that went viral. Jesting that the chicken crossed the road…just not to their restaurants, the online population accepted that they’d have to wait a couple of days for their boneless banquets and began to see the hilarity of the situation.



Limited Edition Onilne Purchase.

We’re not even sure any one of the 17,000 people to receive these bags would have actually noticed the typo in the first place, but by pointing it out and turning it into a gimmick, ASOS not only managed to gain online engagement but to develop their tone of voice to appeal to a more millennial focused demographic. ASOS essentially jumped on the ‘hot mess’ trend.



Go and Get Some Singing Lessons

Remember that God awful Go Compare guy who used to make our ears bleed on the daily? Remember the satisfaction of watching him being told to shut up on TV ads after Go Compare realised we all hated him? And it didn’t stop there, they defaced their own billboards in true pseudo rebellion style that had us all nodding our heads in satisfaction.

Tesco Twitter Sass

We’re not sure that this one can be classed as a mishap as it was definitely a calculated move, but the midbudget supermarket Tesco have managed to cultivate a truly engaging online presence just by breaking away from that annoyingly professional customer care voice that most businesses employ when replying to complaints.

Amongst other indiscretions, they’ve been known to rip into twitter users about being ignored by their friends when they try to make comments about then being on Tesco Mobile (which is apparently really embarrassing and we should all be on Virgin Mobile).

We’ll let you go hunting for Tesco’s sass nuggets. The best ones are on their Tesco Mobile and Tesco Customer Care Twitter pages, in the replies. Give us a follow while you’re there, if you like.


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