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Archive for the tag “#mistakes”

Mary J. Blige: More and More Drama

This year, Burger King dropped to the third largest hamburger chain behind Wendy’s and of course, McDonald’s. This drop has caused BK to break into a new marketing campaign to recover their lagging sales. As part of their new marketing campaign, they have enlisted celebrities including Jay Leno, Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara to endorse certain menu items in commercials. The most popular commercial starring David Beckham.

Photo courtesy of theweek.com

Unfortunately, BK seems to have hit a snag in their rebranding trail. In their most recent commercial, BK received some help from the Queen of Hip-Hop/Soul, Mary J. Blige. Considering Mary J. is one of the biggest singers of this generation, that’s not too bad. What is bad, is that BK can make even Mary J.’s loyalist fans turn their backs on her for her singing!

About a week ago, BK released a small clip of the commercial to local TV stations and then posted it on their YouTube channel. In the clip, Mary J. Blige was shown standing on a table singing about the new crispy chicken wrap. The new fried chicken crispy wrap to be exact. Within a few days, the controversy began. Many called the ad racist and stereotypical of the black community.

Fans were hitting up blogs and their social networking accounts to express their disappointment and anger towards Mary J. and the burger chain.  Mary J.’s career was attacked with comments saying how low she’s sunk to get publicity. Other comments questioned her morals in signing on to do a controversial ad such as this one. While Mary J. was getting backlash from fans, BK was taking a hit from fans, customers, critics, advertising experts and everyone else who had an opinion.

Photo courtesy of eurweb.com

Last week, the ad was removed from TV and the Internet. While most say the ad was removed because of the backlash, BK citied “music licensing problems” as the reason. After the video was removed, Mary J. finally released a statement to address the controversy. She had a slightly different view on what happened with the ad:

I agreed to be a part of a fun and creative campaign that was supposed to feature a dream sequence. Unfortunately, that’s not what was happening in that clip, so I understand my fans being upset by what they saw. But, if you’re a Mary fan, you have to know I would never allow an unfinished spot like the one you saw to go out.

OK. BK says their having licensing problems and Mary J. says the spot was unfinished and that she would have never approved it…

So clearly there were some communication issues with the releasing of this ad. You would think BK’s marketing team would make sure everything was settled and approved before releasing a video that connects their brand and a big name artist such as Mary J.

Burger King eventually released a statement the same day and go as follows:

We would like to apologize to Mary J. and all of her fans for airing an ad that was not final. We know how important Mary J. is to her fans, and we are currently in the process of finalizing the commercial. We hope to have the final ad on the air soon.

Connecting to the younger generation seems to be the route for a lot of fast-food chains. We have McDonald’s trying to use Twitter to connect and failing completely, not to mention they also have questionable commercials showing African-Americans singing about chicken nuggets.

These brands need to take a step back and educate themselves. With the help of social media, this generation has the power to damage a brand and its reputation, which shouldn’t be taken lightly. You can’t just jump in and hope you float. Learn how our generation communicates so that you can effectively join the conversation at the right time with the right tools.

For more on the story check out this article on Yahoo!News.

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China to Apple: Pay Up!

Came across an interesting article about the Apple Ipad …Pad?

Photo courtesy of techcrunch.com

So what’s going on:

Apple is currently in a dispute with Chinese company Proview, over the ‘iPad’ trademark. In 2001, Proview trademarked ‘iPad’ in several countries before Apple bought it from them in 2009 for $55,000. Proview is now demanding $2 billion from Apple in compensation.

What the companies have to say:
  • Proview claims that the complete sale of the trademark to Apple was not authorized, but Apple has documentation refuting that claim.
    • Although Apple does have documentation, they still may have made a mistake. There are two Proviews: Proview (Shenzhen) and Proview (Taiwan). It seems that Apple may have bought the trademark from Proview (Taiwan) when Proview (Shenzhen) is the company that actually owns it. If this is the case, then Apple has potentially juiced themselves of billions of dollars.
  • After the case being suspended in China, Proview has moved the case to the California courts.
    • Now they are claiming that Apple approached them as a fake company called IP Application Development Ltd., or IPAD. It is under this name that Apple supposedly applied for the ‘iPad’ trademark to be used as an abbreviation of the company name. If this is true, Apple could lose their rights to sell iPads in China, a huge market for them.
  • Apple is turning the tables and going after Proview for defamation and copy infringement.

This story sheds light on the other crisis Apple is currently facing in China regarding the working conditions of its Foxconn factories in correlation to the string of employee suicides. You can read more about that crisis here.

Proview IPAD (Photo courtesy of allthingsd.com)

My thoughts:

It seems like Proview may be regretting their earlier decision to sell the trademark for a few thousand when it has generated millions for Apple. I mean, I can’t blame them for trying to make up some (well all) of the money they lost but it just looks desperate now that it’s eight years later.

Now, if Apple really did use a fake company name to buy the trademark, then that’s even worse. Apple just beat out Google for the #1 spot of ‘Most Respected Brand,” so something like this would definitely bring some negativity to their title. This could result in losing their China market, which would definitely negatively impact their sales. This just shows that you have to honest from the very beginning because the truth will eventually show its face.

Not to mention the potential that they may have been the ones who made the mistake of buying from the wrong company. As I mentioned above, they’re already facing a crisis in China and it doesn’t seem to be getting them anywhere positive. I guess I’m just surprised that all of sudden Apple is attracting negative publicity.  Has their PR team been slacking all these years and we just haven’t seen it or does China just want to take a big bite out of Apple this year?

Another great question is: will Apple settle or ride it out to the very end?

Where They Went Wrong…

I came across an interesting article on Clinkz.com that related back to Chapter 3 of Brian Solis’s book, “Engage.” The article highlighted the five biggest mistakes businesses make when using social media in marketing. I wasn’t surprised to find that every one of the mistake identified had been brought up in my social media class and Solis’s book.

The first thing that caught my attention was that the author brought up the major difference between traditional marketing and social media marketing that companies seem to forget.

“It involves speaking with people instead of at people.”

This is the biggest issue with some companies who try social media; they don’t understand the ‘social’ aspect. All they see is another easy way to bombard a large audience with more of their ads and specials. Solis mentions in his book that social media backfires on so many companies because they don’t take the time to recognize the difference between mail advertisements and Twitter. Until companies realize understand that difference they won’t see the true benefits of a powerful tool like social media.

Photo courtesy of jonhoward.typepad.com

While some companies are having difficulties understanding social media, there are plenty of companies who have done the research and are doing well. Let’s take a look at the top mistakes of companies who don’t do their homework and what the article suggests to fix it:

5. Talking at People and Broadcasting Versus Engaging – Don’t just follow the conversations, initiate them.

4. The “If You Build It They Will Come” Mentality – Just because you join, doesn’t mean they’ll come running. “Create a plan to attract and retain them.”

3. Obsessing Over How Many Fans/Friends/Followers You Have – I think this is very common with companies and people in general. A PageLever study showed that only 3 percent to 7.5 percent of Facebook fans actually see your posts. Rather than focusing on how many likes your page has, focus on quality relevant content and moving the engagement up.”

2. Not Being Prepared for Questions or Issues – Most companies wait to be surprised by consumers who actually ask them question or have complaints regarding their products. Don’t be that business. “Make a list of the top 10 questions you’re asked on the phone. Also make a list of the top 10 PR crises that you have had in the past five years. Be prepared to handle these on social networks.”

1. Not Having a Clear Plan – Once again, just having a Facebook page as another place to post ads and things is not going to bring much success. Know who your audience is and target their wants and needs.

Of course there are more mistakes being made, but I think the mistakes discussed in this article are a great starting point.

Cherese

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