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The Most Infamous Mistakes In Digital Marketing That Were Never Repeated

In modern marketing campaigns, a brand’s digital marketing approach and strategy is critical to success, but due to the relative immaturity of many digital marketing platforms, there is still a considerable amount of innovation required to succeed.

Many aspects of marketing will vary considerably based on their audience and a working digital strategy in High Wycombe may not necessarily work in Aylesbury or Milton Keynes due to differing audiences.

This has led to many examples of innovative marketing strategies that break conventions and rules to great success, particularly in the world of social media, such as Wendy’s infamously aggressive line-stepping approach to Twitter.

However, not every digital marketing strategy is a success, and some have become so infamous that they were never repeated again.


Pepsi Amp Up Before You Score

Arguably one of the most infamous apps ever created, Pepsi attempted to aggressively advertise their AMP energy line with an app about trying to ‘pick up’ women called ‘AMP UP Before You Score’.

It was attempting to follow in the footsteps of the infamously controversial Yorkie Bar “It’s Not For Girls” campaign and would itself be followed by the similarly controversial and poorly received “It’s Not For Women” campaign by Dr Pepper Ten.

Pepsi claimed the app, which had 24 cartoon depictions of different ‘types’ of women along with pick up lines and the ability to share details of encounters with people on social media, was meant to be a parody but was so badly received that nobody has attempted anything similar since.


Burger King Whopper – Day 28

Fast food companies will regularly go to rather extreme lengths in their marketing, and whilst this creative approach has often paid dividends such as with KFC’s truly surreal marketing pushes, it sometimes leads to some truly awful campaigns.

Had other companies not made the same mistake, McDonald’s infamous “#McDStories” would have been included, but an example of a company that made a mistake so bad it was never repeated was “The Whopper – Day 28”.

Intended to show how the company did not use any artificial preservatives, the sight of a zoomed-in mouldy hamburger was exactly as off-putting as one would expect, and no company has attempted a similar campaign since.


Pepsi Live For Now – Moments

Movements, causes and political activism are an increasing part of modern marketing, but they only truly work when a company and a marketing team truly believe in the cause they are advertising.

Compare and contrast, for example, initiatives such as the Campaign for Real Beauty or Gillette’s The Best A Man Can Be to the infamous Pepsi Live For Now advert, often better known as that time Kendall Jenner stopped police brutality and a riot using cans of cola.

It was remarkably tone-deaf and despite only being online for 48 hours before being pulled, it remains a shining beacon on why you should not use activism as an aesthetic.

Years later it has still been used as a punchline for companies co-opting actual movements in the name of advertising, and during riots ever since, at least one comedian has thrown cans or tried to hand cans to riot police as a joke.

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