We live in an age when a single online celebrity can make or break a marketing campaign. Yes, influencers can provide incredible marketing opportunities. On the other hand poorly thought out and executed influencer campaigns can be a disaster. Here are examples of influencer marketing campaigns that backfired badly, hurting the brand more than helping it.
It just goes to show; just because influencers are popular it doesn’t mean they understand how marketing works.
Exploiting Dead Legends
The Jenner sisters, Kylie and Kendall, are stupidly popular. They’ve done everything they can to exploit that popularity, having both successful fashion and cosmetics brands. But these sisters aren’t always in-touch with what is and isn’t acceptable, a problem shared by many wealthy celebrities.
In 2017 the sisters attempted to cash in on famous dead musicians, including Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G and The Doors. They released a line of t-shirts featuring images of the dead musicians, which might not have been so bad if they’d asked permission from families. They hadn’t. Making it dramatically worse each dead musician’s likeness was accompanied by a Jenner sister and a gaudy company logo. The mother of Notorious B.I.G took to Instagram to express her disdain, all but turning the cash grab into a social media nightmare.
Countless Influencers – Wildfire Promotion
The California wildfires were devastating, taking 84 lives and countless homes. Of course, influencers saw the disaster as an opportunity to get some attention. Numerous Instagram celebrities posted tasteless photos, most centred around sexuality rather than the disaster. The influencers referred to the images as support.
Many of the influencers got a fast reality check, with followers lashing out at the tasteless displays.
PewDiePie Puts His Foot In It
Anyone having even a casual relationship with the internet, even if just to check out real money pokies, probably knows who PewDiePie is. With over 100 million subscribers he is a YouTube sensation. On the other hand, Felix Kjellberg is also known for repeatedly shooting himself in the foot with ridiculous public relations disasters.
Perhaps his most notorious mistake involved paying a pair of Sri Lankan men to display a sign featuring an anti-sematic phrase. He claimed the stunt was a joke, and probably even meant it to be a joke, but the world wasn’t laughing. He followed up the video with an official apology, though it wouldn’t be the last time he made a very public mistake.
You’re Not Yourself
In 2012 model Katie Price’s Twitter account began to churn out bizarre messages, including those that focused on social and political issues. Not a problem, really, except that it was extremely out of character for Price. Most assumed her account had been hacked, only for Snickers to smugly claim responsibility. The company was pushing the ‘you’re not yourself when you’re hungry’ slogan, and apparently thought this was the right way to do it.
Not a bad idea, but the public didn’t much care for it. Snickers was accused of misleading, confusing marketing that had nothing to do with the influencers being used to push advertising slogans.