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Case Studies for Social Media Marketing

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Social media can be a double-edged sword for your brand in that it can virally make people aware of your brand and drive revenue or it can kill a brand literally overnight if you make a single misstep. Below are a few case studies that demonstrate some unexpected marketing blunders.

Case 1: Raging Cow In 2003 Dr. Pepper/7Up's flavored milk, Raging Cow, violated the trust of the blogosphere by recruiting five of the Web's most popular bloggers aged 18 to 24 to post favorable blogs about the flavored drinks while compensating them with product samples, gift certificates, and T-shirts. The blogs were posted without disclaimers to make the public aware of the bloggers' affiliation with Dr. Pepper/7Up. The company set up a site called ragingcow.com (no longer up, archive shown) which chronicled the life of a fictitious cow. As soon soon as the blogosphere figured out that the blogs on the site were affiliated with the company, they unleashed a firestorm of anti-Raging Cow comments as well as a product boycott. As a result, the product was killed soon after.

Case 2: Levi's During the summer of 2010, Levi's launched a new line of jeans that was different because it featured a new way of sizing the jean by the degree of bodily curve the woman who'd be wearing the jean had. The company claimed to have taken body scans of 60,000 women around the world to come up with new sizes that should fit eighty percent of the women in the world. The new sizes were "slight", "demi", and "bold" curves for the new sizing method.

Although it seemed like a great idea, the ads that communicated the new concept angered many who expressed their feelings via social media. Some were angered by the ad's slogan "All asses are not created equal". Those provocative words combined with the fact that the most curvaceous models were dark-skinned made some to claim that the ads were "racist". In late November 2010 several people were still Tweeting about the racist connotations by referring to this page.

Case 3: Motrin On a Saturday morning on November 15, 2008 posted an ad on its website and the narrated ad said,

"Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion. I mean, in theory it's a great idea. There's the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch. And who knows what else they've come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free. Supposedly, it's a real bonding experience. They say that babies carried close to the body tend to cry less than others. But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don't. I sure do! These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back? I mean, I'll put up with the pain because it's a good kind of pain; it's for my kid.

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