What Not to Do in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing agency

3 Recent Examples:

If you ever need a friendly reminder of errors to avoid in digital marketing, just keep up with the news. Due to poor planning, miscalculations, or simple impulsiveness, there are plenty of news stories about brands that have missed the mark in their execution.

The following is a look at a few of the more recent examples of digital marketing mistakes, along with strategies and tips on how to avoid them.

Miracle Mattress Twin Tower Sale

If you sell mattresses, how do you celebrate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2016? You hold a “Twin Tower sale,” of course, and offer people “twin” mattresses for the price of one. As you can imagine, this promotional gimmick employed by San Antonio-based Miracle Mattress in a video shared on social media did not go over well with the marketplace. News of the promotion quickly went viral and the store was bombarded with angry social and broadcast media comments. Company officials even received some death threats, and rather than fulfilling the promotion, ended up closing its doors for a while.

This unfortunate lesson provided by Miracle Mattress demonstrates that people don’t appreciate overt attempts at “ambulance chasing” from brands. Consider the sentiment of your target market toward occurrences and events before trying to integrate them into marketing messages. The upbeat and flippant message delivery surrounding a somber occasion contributed to the negative response.

American Apparel Pushes the Envelope on Sexuality

In some cases, companies think they can get away with promotional campaigns executed on social media channels targeting young audiences that they wouldn’t run through mainstream media. American Apparel has developed a reputation in recent history for crossing the virtual line of decency with some of its provocative digital campaigns.

The adage, “Sex sells,” still largely holds true and is generally accepted by audiences in many countries. However, there are limits to this acceptance. American Apparel has managed to draw the ire of even the UK government in recent years with its highly sexualized fashion ads featuring young women. The June 2014 firing of the company’s founder Dov Charney for alleged misconduct and sexual harassment lawsuits fanned the flames of the company’s questionable motives.

The moral of this story is that your brand needs to balance benefits of controversial message strategies with consideration for marketplace acceptance of the execution.

DiGiornio Tweets First, Thinks Second

One of the most common faux pas in digital and social media marketing is moving so quickly to immerse your brand in a conversation that you lack foresight. DiGiornio provided one of the most classic recent examples of this in September 2014, when a company representative Tweeted an abrupt pizza comment in the midst of a serious conversation among victims of domestic abuse.

Women were sharing stories about the challenges of getting out of an abusive relationship and using “#WhyIStayed” to converse. Without learning the context, the company rep Tweeted “#WhyIStayed You Had Pizza.” To its credit, soon issued a general statement of apology, “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.” Additionally, the account was used to engage many of the offended Tweeters directly to apologize.

This DiGiornio example offers a couple important lessons. First, understand the context of a digital conversation before jumping in, and second, if you do mess up badly, show humility and take the heat until the marketplace is willing to forgive.


Brands big and small are prone to significant mistakes in digital marketing. However, by learning from missteps by other companies, you can avoid some of the worst pitfalls for your company.

Given the risks of a major faux pas, the help of an expert digital marketing agency is a huge advantage! Let RMI be your partner when you contact our Director of New Business Development, Amanda Sparks.

Response Mine Interactive