prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Marketing Missteps Turn Into PR Pratfalls

Posted by prof e on April 2, 2015

Companies take risks and try new things. Sometimes they work, and other times…well, let’s just say they sometimes fail to produce the intended result. Starbuck’s “Race Together” campaign is just one of the most recent examples of a well-intended effort that backfired when consumers used social media to push back. Interactivity is one of the things that makes social media so incredibly powerful and valuable. But like any powerful force, if it gets out of control (which it so frequently does) it can wreak havoc.

Mae Anderson, of the Associated Press, makes the point that this is not unique to the coffee giant. Plenty of other marketing blunders have mushroomed into PR blunders when corporations lose control of their message in social media spaces. Coke, the Gap, Lululemon, and even J.P. Morgan have felt the wrath of consumers who didn’t like the: new taste, new logo, new transparency, or lack thereof.

In another AP news article the Starbucks campaign was defended as simply a failed attempt to try to do the right thing.

At its annual meeting, Schultz said he didn’t think Starbucks would solve the country’s “centuries old problems of racism” but that he thinks it can make a difference. He said workers don’t have to participate, and that stores will make customers another drink or cover up cups if they don’t like the message. “This is not a marketing or P.R. exercise,” Schultz said.

Even if we take their word for it and accept that they did not intend for this to be a marketing or PR exercise…it is clear that it has become exactly that.


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