Right Brain, Left Brain Blog

16 posts categorized "Fail"

20 October 2017

The genius of Trivago


No campaign has received more industry attention this summer than Trivago’s. Its recent poster crusade of London has been ridiculed for its strange and repetitive placements and its uninspiring design. Those who worked on the campaign have even had their professional commitment brought into question.

However, beneath the negative press lies an uncomfortable truth for the ad world.

The Trivago campaign has worked.

As a result of the campaign, Trivago’s brand awareness in London rose by a remarkable 15% from 27% to 42% at its peak [Source: YouGov].

Was that Trivago's main marketing objective? Almost certainly.

Skeptics will point towards brand perception. By being so freakishly ubiquitous, surely we can assume that sentiment towards the brand is at an all-time low.

Continue reading "The genius of Trivago" »

21 April 2017

Why the Pepsi ad could end in triumph

A truism that pervades our industry is that the worst thing that can happen to your work is not to have it hated, but to have it ignored.

Well, I hope this thought is keeping the Pepsi team warm tonight, because it’s probably the only morsel of comfort to be found in the wreckage of their latest ad and flames of mockery that have engulfed it.

To be fair I guess they can also take heart in the fact that they did indeed manage to unite people – just like they said they would – it’s just a shame that the common ground they provided was at their expense.

There probably hasn’t ever been an ad storm quite like this, but the closest parallel that comes to mind is the infamous Protein World scandal from 2015. And this should make us pause for thought. For Protein World’s campaign was not only hated; it was incredibly successful, garnering £2 million of sales for the small brand in a few short days. Could the same reward befall Pepsi?

The short answer is… probably not.

The two scenarios aren’t really analogous, since Protein World chose a particular side of an argument, and simply defended it to the hilt, thereby attracting hate from one faction but fandom from another. Pepsi on the other hand also chose a particular side in the culture wars, but it is this side that has turned against it the most viciously, with the protesting classes voicing deep offence at the work while the other side of the aisle simply shake their head incredulously. In other words, at least some people were on Protein World’s side – Pepsi on the other hand has no one.

That said, if hatred is better than indifference, then there should still be glimmers of hope to be found for the brand. So here are three reasons to be (sort of) cheerful…

Continue reading "Why the Pepsi ad could end in triumph" »

14 June 2016

The dark side of content marketing

Blog 1I recently came across a post on Facebook that was generating a lot of traction. No wonder – it linked to a story revealing a way to beat online casinos.

The rich narrative explained how Rob Lawrence, 28, was spilling the beans about his money-making strategy “to piss off the online casinos who shut his accounts”. He’d been told about the lucrative system from an uncle, a former casino employee now serving time in prison.

The first thing that raised alarm bells was the use of links in the explanation of how the scheme worked. You won’t find this in the original ‘Evening Mail’ story above because the strategy page it linked to has been removed, but you will find it in this other version of the campaign posing as a blog – there are several across the web.

Under ‘Step1 – Where to play’ it says: “The casino that let me get away with the most was Bwin – you’ve probably seen them advertised on the footy.” The word ‘Bwin’ was hyperlinked, which struck me as odd, but I carried on reading – I was curious to discover how the casinos could be beaten.

The game was roulette, and the advice was to pick a “rare event”, such as five of the same colour coming up on consecutive spins – the probability of which is 2.78% (on a roulette table with a single ‘0’). Once this happens, the recommendation was to bet on the opposite colour. So after five blacks in a row, you should then bet on red – and vice versa.

Continue reading "The dark side of content marketing" »

05 June 2015

Ad Fail of the Week: Yves Saint Laurent's "unhealthily thin" model

Uh-oh, French fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent came under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week for a new ad depicting a model that was deemed to be “unhealthily underweight”.

The ASA ruled a ban on the ad, which featured in Elle magazine, showing the model laid on the floor with her hands on her head exposing her chest which the regulator decided that “due to particularly lighting effect in the ad” highlighted where the model’s “rib cage was visible”.

The regulator stated: “Her thighs and knees appeared a similar width… particularly in light of her positioning and the contrast between the narrowness of her legs and her platform shoes. We therefore considered that the model appeared unhealthily underweight in the image and concluded that the ad was irresponsible”.

Continue reading "Ad Fail of the Week: Yves Saint Laurent's "unhealthily thin" model" »

13 March 2015

Online Ad of the Week: Whiskas/WWF ‘Epic Cat Fails’ (UK)

Whiskas’ new hilarious cat fail video carries an important message…


Whiskas and WWF have partnered to launch a new online video campaign, created by AMV BBDO, which uses real life YouTube footage of cats doing silly things but still coming out unscathed. But the real hard hitting message comes at the end, drawing attention to the plight of tigers in the world – as few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild.

#9lives focuses on the message that whilst domestic cats may have nine lives, tigers in the wild have just one. The campaign highlights the need for donations to help double tiger numbers within your own cat’s lifetime. Whiskas has pledged to match any donations made.

Continue reading "Online Ad of the Week: Whiskas/WWF ‘Epic Cat Fails’ (UK)" »

24 February 2015

Malaysia’s Medical Tourism Association “makes a boob” in latest ad ban

Uh oh – Malaysian-based Medical Tourism Association is the latest in the firing line from UK advertising watchdog ASA with its latest poster campaign having been banned for “trivialising” cosmetic surgery.

The ad in question (see below) had been displayed in motorway service stations and shopping centres across the UK – it basically encourages tourists to fly to Malaysia for breast enhancement surgery and highlights the point that “‘Boob job’ is the most popular cosmetic procedure for women”.

The ad also states that “Malaysia is proud to be amongst one of the only countries within the region where medical tourism is promoted by the government. Hence medical tourists can have the assurance of quality care and be guided by the regulation, safety standards and the governing laws within this industry. Our private hospitals bagged three out of nine awards at the international Medical Travel Awards 2014.”

Continue reading "Malaysia’s Medical Tourism Association “makes a boob” in latest ad ban" »

16 May 2014

Fail of the Week: Ogilvy & Mather’s Malala ad

Uh-oh… It seems that illustrations of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl that was shot by the Taliban, recovered and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, did not go down well in mattress brand Kurl-On’s latest poster campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather.

The campaign, from Ogilvy’s Indian office, depicts cartoon drawings of Yousafzai being shot in the head, before falling onto a mattress, bouncing up again and receiving an award. Eek!


Luckily Ogilvy & Mather took to social media to apologise for the “incident”:

“The recent Kurl-On ads from our India office are contrary to the beliefs and professional standards of Ogilvy & Mather and our clients. We deeply regret this incident and want to personally apologies to Malala Yousafzai and her family. We are investigating how our standards were compromised in this case and will take whatever corrective action is necessary. In addition, we have launched a thorough review of our approval and oversight processes across our global network to help ensure that our standards are never compromised again.”

19 November 2013

Epic Fail: #askjpm from JP Morgan

After the recent Twitter debacles from British Gas and Guinness (both covered in Cream - click here for British Gas and here for Guinness), you'd think more big firms would be steering clear of going too crazy with social media campaigns in which the public are invited to interact. However, banking giant JP Morgan decided that it would be a good idea to take to Twitter with the hashtag '#askjpm' on Wednesday morning and, alas, the Twittersphere decided to create a backlash (as reported on M&M Global).

It's a familiar story of recent and one that media folk at JP Morgan surely should have expected, but, clearly, they've not learned from the mistakes of those before them whatsoever. Check out some of the highlights below.

All of this does beg the question why JP Morgan thought this would be a good idea. Certain companies must realise that they're not the most popular on Earth. One would think that particularly multinational financial institutions, whose recent press has all been of a nature relating to the fecklessness of their staff in trading rooms and their profligate lending causing housing foreclosures the world over, would have an idea. Surely opening themselves up to Twitter and asking members of a global general public still reeling from their actions/attempting to move on with bitter tastes in their mouths was never going to be the best idea and would only end one way? 

Maybe JP Morgan genuinely believed that people would want to engage with their little game of social networking face-saving. If they did, they've been at best naive and at worst stupidly complacent. In any case, one suspects they shan't be entering into anything similar any time soon.

By Luke Cloherty, Cream Global

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