Awful Content Marketing Examples – How Not to Do It | Fubbi

Awful Content Marketing Examples – How Not to Do It

Avoid the Mistakes That These Content Marketers Have Made

You’ll ask yourself so many questions when you try to figure out how to do content marketing. There are lots of different techniques to try. As a result, it can be hard to figure out which will work best for your business.

A lot of people look to more successful companies for ideas. Getting a few content marketing examples can help you on your way, but it’s not a foolproof strategy. In fact, getting your examples from the wrong sources can have terrible effects on your strategy.

Do you want some examples? We’ve compiled a list of content marketing strategies that hit all of the wrong notes.

Example #1 – Malaysia Airlines’ Bucket List

In 2014, Malaysia Airlines was in a bit of trouble. Two of their flights had crashed, which were freak disasters which seriously tarnished the airline’s reputation.

A bit of positive public relations was needed, but Malaysia Airlines went about it in all the wrong ways. The company didn’t adjust their content marketing strategy to take the disasters into account. Instead, they plowed ahead with what they already had planned.

This led to a campaign in Australia and New Zealand in which the company asked people to send in their bucket lists. For those who don’t know, a bucket list is a list of things that you want to do before you die. While a good strategy in the majority of situations, the allusions to death were terrible for a brand that was associated with two tragedies. They quickly stopped the campaign in its track. This demonstrates the dangers of sticking to a content strategy, regardless of situational context.

Example #2 – Walmart’s “Fat Girl” Halloween Costumes

Even the simplest of phrases can sour a content strategy. That’s exactly what happened to Walmart.

In 2014 (there must have been something in the water during that year), Walmart were gearing up to unveil their latest batch of Halloween costumes. That meant creating a bunch of costume categories, all of which needed their own names.

So far, so good. That is until they named their costumes for plus-sized women “Fat Girl Costumes”. As you can imagine, that small phrase caused a massive social media uproar. Walmart backtracked quickly, offering up an apology on its website with a promise that they would do everything they could to prevent something like this from happening again. It just goes to show how a little thought goes a long way when creating a content marketing strategy.

Example #3 – DiGiorno’s #WhyIStayed Campaign

We move on to an example that shows just what might happen if you don’t put a lot of thought into your Twitter content marketing strategy.

It all started simply enough. DiGiorno, which sells pizzas, started encouraging its followers to use the hashtag #WhyIStayed to explain why they’d stuck with the brand. The problem came when people realized the connotations of the hashtag. You see, #WhyIStayed was a hashtag that domestic abuse survivors were using at the time to explain why they had stayed in abusive relationships. It’s a sensitive subject, and one that you don’t really want to associate with something as trivial as pizza.

Unsurprisingly, DiGiorno pulled the campaign at once. They also learned the value of research before launching a new content marketing campaign.

Example #4 – Fox’s Campaign for Sleepy Hollow

When Fox unleashed Sleepy Hollow onto the airwaves, they needed a catchy campaign to get people interested. The story about a headless rider lends itself pretty well to a content creation campaign because it offers a ton of material.

Fox used that to their advantage with a nifty poster. Emblazoned with the phrase “Does this axe make my head look small?” the poster depicted a headless man holding a giant axe. It’s not a bad idea in itself. It uses humor, and it’s something that’s going to stick in the viewer’s mind. Those are great checkpoints to hit with a content marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, timing undid the campaign. On the same day Fox unveiled the campaign, ISIS released footage of the real-life beheading of a journalist. Much like with the Malaysia Airlines example, the connotations were there, even if the intent wasn’t. Things were made worse by the fact that Fox had also encouraged its Twitter followers to use the hashtag #headlessday.


Not all of these content marketing examples are bad ideas. However, they go to show that timing plays just as big a role as content when you create a new campaign.

Of course, you also have to be sensitive to your audience’s needs, and do your research before the campaign. By avoiding these examples, you’ll go a long way toward developing a good strategy.

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