Social media marketing campaigns are cost- effective but they can easily backfire
Why some work and some don’t.
VIRAL marketing is a trendy term, but it’s a game of chance, as many companies have found out.
The Old Spice Guy was one of those rare, lucky viral memes that worked.
The ‘‘ Man Your Man Could Smell Like’’, with his rapid- fire monologues and wry, nonchalant demeanour garnered more than 34 million views and scored a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial.
When the film The Blair Witch Project was in production way back in 1999, clips, which were purported to be real, were leaked online and the unsuspecting public fell for it.
Filtering its way into the mainstream in the most subtle way possible, this film, with a budget of mere thousands of dollars and a marketing campaign that cost virtually nothing, The Blair Witch Project became one of the most profitable movies of all time. Ah, but the innocent days of the internet are long behind us. No longer do we fall for such trickery. Now, viral marketing campaigns can quickly go bad when hijacked by the pisstaking, pun- pulling public online.
When social media strategies backfire, people can’t look away and it can also irreparably damage the company’s reputation.
For example, Nissan landed in the middle of a PR storm after the winner of a $ 20,000 car in a social media competition was revealed to be friends with the Japanese car giant’s social media co- ordinator.
Nissan will probably recover from that social media disaster but other companies may not.
Qantas has been in the public’s bad books over fighting union issues and workers’ demands, the company’s CEO Alan Joyce receiving millions of dollars in bonus payments while workers suffered, and services being shut down leaving passengers stranded.
Then they launched an ill- timed competition on Twitter with a hashtag that backfired spectacularly for all the world to see.
The @ Qantasairways Twitter account asked for passengers to send in their ‘‘ luxury flying experiences’’ with a # Qantasluxury hashtag.
Simple enough, what could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything.
A trending storm began, mocking the lack of luxury in recent times.
Let that be a lesson: you cannot manufacture a successful viral campaign.
It’s a crowd- sourced effort and with the diversity of people online, you really don’t know what you’re asking for until it’s circulating, like wildfire.