Top 10 Social Campaign #Fails and #Wins of 2013

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‘Tis the season for “Top 10 of 2013” lists! We’re a festive bunch here at Just Drive Media, so we’re celebrating by gathering up the year’s top social media mishaps and successes. We’re always sharing eye-catching social stories in our virtual water cooler, and you deserve to get in on the laughs, lessons and inspiration.

Let’s start with a look at our favorite fails:

1. JP Morgan Twitter Chat Backfires

We feel for you, JP, but opening the gates for a candid Twitter chat while your brand is undergoing controversy is asking for trouble. In case you missed it, the company was recently ordered to pay more than $300 million back to customers for illegal credit card practices.

Using the hashtag #AskJPM, the Twitter chat was intended for users to ask investment banker Jimmy Lee questions on career advice, but it quickly went awry…

2. Randi Zuckerberg Memorializes Veterans

Well, she tried to, but shameless book promotion is not exactly the right way to honor veterans. Poor Randi endured a lot of grief for this one, though unlike most mishaps, her tweet is still proudly posted. Whatever her intentions, the lesson remains… Do NOT piggy back on harrowing holidays and anniversaries to market your brand. Your message will sound empty, and your audience will see right through it.

3. Amy’s Baking Company vs. The Socialsphere

If you missed this one, you’re in for a treat. Located in Arizona, Amy’s Baking Company was featured in Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. They were not operating up to standard, to say the least, and the owners were so difficult to work with that Ramsey dumped them.

After they were deluged with a tidal wave of negative feedback via social media, owners Samy and Amy had a complete meltdown that they had no qualms about sharing on their social channels. Needless to say, make sure the “all-caps-with-sprinkles-of-profanity-and-claiming-to-be-hacked” method does not make it into your 2014 social strategies.


4. Kenneth Cole Showcases Insensitivity

Kenneth Cole hit a nerve with an insensitive tweet in September. Regarding potential military action in Syria, Cole exploited the “boots on the ground” phrase in an attempt to sell footwear. This isn’t the first time he’s started controversy over Twitter, and he stands by his 91-characters. C’mon, Ken…

5. DTE Energy Retweets Its Poor Customer Service

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but had us shaking our heads nonetheless. DTE Energy, a Michigan-based utility company, had apparently not addressed a customer’s safety concerns for some nearby power lines. When the customer took to Twitter to complain, DTE responded by retweeting his criticism to its more than 11,000 Twitter followers. Now that’s transparency!

We’re not completely ruthless, and there are a lot of great brands out there doing social media the right way that we can learn from. Here are some of the campaigns that inspired us this year:

6. Kobe and Messi Share Selfies

Turkish Airlines released its second ad featuring Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant this year, in which the two athletes travel the globe sharing dueling selfies. The YouTube video itself is clever and touts high-profile names, but that alone isn’t why there are currently more than 134 million views. Turkish Airline’s ad agency identified high-profile YouTube users, then worked with and compensated them to casually share the ad with their followers.

7. Oreo Dunks in the Dark

Oreo received plenty of praise throughout the year for their tweet during the Super Bowl, and it remains a favorite. When the power went out, Oreo jumped on the opportunity in real-time with a simple, clever post and graphic. This reiterates the importance for social marketing to be relevant and timely.

8. Weather Channel Interns Sustain Twitter Tornado

There isn’t much not to like about the Weather Channel’s #TornadoWeek campaign. The idea came from their interns, and put them in the middle of a Twitter powered tornado. Every mention of the hashtag boosted the winds, promising to escalate into a full-blown EF-5 tornado with 1,000,000 tweets. Using hand-written signs and entertaining antics, the #TornadoWeek video went viral.

9. Lowe’s Leverages Vine

Vine may seem like an app only for consumers, but Lowe’s was one of the first to successfully market its brand through the six-second videos. Using the hashtag #lowesfixinsix, Lowe’s released a series of videos with DIY and home improvement tips. The campaign has been going strong for the better half of the year, and continues to receive great positive response on Twitter.

10. Water is Life Addresses #firstworldproblems

This cause is near and dear to me and makes me love the campaign even more. We’ve all likely seen the “#firstworldproblems” hashtag, where the privileged complain about their wallet being so full it won’t close or their toaster not having a bagel setting. Non-profit organization Water is Life set out to show how trivial these complaints are and raise awareness of real problems in the world. The team produced a video featuring men, women and children in Haiti reading #firstworldproblems tweets, which powerfully got their message across. The campaign generated 1 million days worth of clean water for impoverished communities.

What were your favorite #fails and #wins of 2013? Cheers to what 2014 has in store!

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