Working with influencers has advantages - they can help make an advertising campaign feel more realistic, and open your brand up to a new audience. But what happens when the campaign goes wrong? Here are eight of the worst influencer marketing fails:
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8 of the Biggest Influencer Marketing Fails
1. Pepsi x Kendall Jenner
It doesn’t seem particularly unusual for a big brand like Pepsi to collaborate with a large influencer like Kendall Jenner. Influencers can enhance marketing campaigns and make them feel less like an ad – in this case, that was one of the worst parts of this campaign.
Following a period of brands taking a stand and jumping on the social movement bandwagon, Pepsi designed a campaign with a reference to the Black Lives Matter protests.
Although overall the campaign was extremely badly thought out, the inclusion of Kendall, a white supermodel, did not fit with the theme of the protests.
Kendall ended up looking foolish, and Pepsi just looked insensitive.
2. Rodan + Fields x Ramona Singer
When working with lots of brands on different campaigns and using agencies to run them all, it can be easy for influencers to slip up when posting their caption. We’ve got a few more examples in this list, but firstly The Real Housewives of New York City star, Ramona Singer is left looking silly after leaving the brand’s directions in her caption.
3. E.A x Benjamin Burnley
This is a real case for finding the right influencers. If they don’t have a connection with your brand then they are going to struggle to put any passion into their content. Especially if they don’t actually like your product!
In this example, video game company Electronic Arts messaged Benjamin Burnley, front-man of Breaking Benjamin, asking him to promote their new Star Wars: Battlefront game.
Benjamin took to Instagram to show the brand what he really thought of the game.
4. Duchesnay x Kim Kardashian
For many brands, working with influencers fits well, for pharmaceutical products it can be a bit trickier. Advertising rules mean that medicines and drugs are required to provide information on the potential side effects of the product. In this case, Kim Kardashian did not include the details of any side effects in her post for Duchesnay’s morning sickness drug, Diclegis.
Only focusing on the benefits of the product, and not highlighting any risks, caused the FDA to warn Kim that she would face regulatory action if the post was not removed or corrected.
5. Adidas x Naomi Campbell
Another caption fail, this time from Adidas influencers. Naomi Campbell copied and pasted the full message and posted it without removing the instructions from Adidas first. It’s an embarrassing mistake that caused fans to mock both Naomi and Adidas. No wonder influencer trust is dropping.
6. Snickers x Katie Price & Ian Botham
There are many rules that brands and influencers must follow when working together. Although influencer posts aim to look authentic, identifying that it is a paid collaboration is important.
When Snickers collaborated with Katie Price and Ian Botham they created a Twitter campaign focused on their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” slogan. The campaign featured Katie and Ian posting content that seemed out of place for their audience, followed by a sponsored post about Snickers using their famous slogan.
The tweets got lots of attention before the final reveal that it was all a Snickers ad.
The campaign was reviewed by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) as it was unclear whether the initial tweets were sponsored posts. Although the ASA concluded that the campaign was acceptable, it shows the importance of making sure your content complies with regulations at every stage. These types of advertising failures can cause a ton of damage to brands.
7. Tower Jewellers x Terrie McEvoy
Back in 2015, Terrie McEvoy worked with Tower Jewellers on an Instagram competition. Soon afterwards, it was found that Terrie had rigged the competition so two of her friends won the prize.
8. Bootea x Scott Disick
In another case of copy and paste, Scott Disick used the whole brand message rather than just cutting off the caption.
These fails not only make the influencers look foolish, it negatively affects the brands through loss of reputation, bad press, and even loss of sales.