Tag Archives: fail

Case Nikon Singapore: How to Keep Beating Your Opponent

Many of you might have heard about Nikon Singapore´s photo competition screw-up. They awarded clearly photoshopped photo and apparently a stolen idea. While it is not the biggest failure of the world, it is slightly embarrassing. It would probably be forgotten quite soon, but their biggest competitor Canon does not want us to forget:

Canon Canada

Quite seldom social competition in Singapore catches the attention in Canada

As we can see, the post has gotten over 11k likes and 7k shares. That is quite great number for a Facebook post and a great indicator that people love when brands are bold and have balls.

Bold brands are cheeky, even frivolous. When their opponent (read: other brand) fails, they attack viciously. Business is about winning and losing and if you can help your rival brand lose even more go for more blows. There is three great lessons here to keep in mind when you thinking of competing with your archenemy:

  1. Admit your own mistakes fast and forget them even faster.
  2. However well on your opponent’s mistakes and rub it in their face. Do it as fast as possible.
  3. …but do it with tongue-in-cheek. It is ok to be evil if you smile at the same time.

Some people and brands need to have an enemy to get the best out of them.

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Finnair Stopover Cock-Up

Finnair has a stopover concept in collaboration with VisitFinland.com. In principle it is a great idea to encourage people to come to visit Finland while they are flying Finnar to other destinations. Main emphasis in the term “in principle”.

As I am traveling to Copenhagen this spring, I thought it would be awesome opportunity to utilize tise stopover concept. Expect the booking system does not work. I have tried to do a booking with different browsers, different computers but essentially it always comes back to the starting point. I doubt that tourists are willing to go through too many hoops to be able to come visit Finland. I at least have some vested interest to go the extra mile. Moment-of-truth for your brand is always.


That’s not all. Below there is aggregator of #visitfinland-hashtag. Some of the updates are dubious to say at least (like the one in right) and give totally different “feel” to Finnair:visitfinlandfail2

Currently there is no hardcore porn aggregated to the site like last weekend, but I still suppose that having #visitfinland combined with #ihaveburningpussy in your brand´s webpage is not necessarily the right brand association you want have:


Or maybe it is and this is just a smart viral stunt to lure more sex tourists to Finland?

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Yes, David Bowie is Dead But Your Brand Should Not Care

David Bowie was a great musician, whose music will live on for a long time. Because he was such an iconic figure, there has been unleash of public tributes I don´t remember encountering since Lemmy died. All of those public tributes I can understand. The death came as a surprise and people want to showcase their empathy in social media.

However what made me sick this:


Real-time advertising can be valuable tool, but you should remember the following rules:

1) Just because everyone is talking about it, that does not mean they want you to join the conversation. If you don´t have anything valuable to add to the mix, stay away.
2) If your product is not relevant to what is happening do not jump on the bandwagon (Jack Daniels works with Lemmy, ugly rubber boots not necessarily that well with Bowie)
3) If you have to jump on bandwagon (when in doubt: don´t jump) at least be respectable

Milk and Lemmy don´t necessarily mix that well, but apparently you can do that with a good taste and respect.
4) Generally it is easier to create real-time content on happier topics than death.
5) If what you are doing feels that it makes you a jerk, that is a strong indication that you should not be doing it.

And don´t even start with “every publicity is good publicity”-bullshit, although Crocs Facebook page has not probably gotten this much traction in a long time.

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Whopper Sellout: Facebook Like is Not A Sign of Loyalty

One of the most idiotic campaigns lately has been this effort from Burger King Norway:

Effectively they subsidized their biggest competitor with 50 000 krones and lost 30k of their Facebook audience at the same time. But hey, now they have more engaged Facebook community with only those who care, right? Or they have 8000 fans who have already opted out of Facebook messages and have not seen the status updates about campaign.

Why this campaign was just really idiotic stunt?

1.Fast food is not loyalty business.
Majority of the people eat both in Burger King and McDonald´s. When you are hungry your main selection criteria is location, location & location. 72% of Pepsi drinkers drink Coke as well. Also if you offer free gift coupon for your main competitor and the only downside is that you cannot join a brand Facebook page anymore. Who would not get this deal? We are not talking about your favorite basketball team here. We are talking about burgers. How often you go to social media to really engage with burger? If your brand page disappeared today, who would mourn it?

2. Fast food is a mass business.
Even your most loyal 8k fans do not really make dent in your results. Therefore I rather had 40k disloyal bargain hunters than 8k hardcore Burger King loyalists. Sometimes Facebook is just reach and not engagement. The situation would be different if your average buy would be hundreds of dollars. Buying the fast food is low-interest buy. In reality you want the people fast in-fast out and not really expect them to discuss about your brand further.

3.Fast food business is led by promotions.
People wait for the new burger variants, one-dollar discounts and 2-in-1 deals. Why not give what they are wanting for? Majority of the brands should just realize that their Facebook page is only place for promotions, sweepstakes and occasional social media meltdowns. People go to Facebook because they want to connect with their friends. They do not want to connect with brands. They might do it occasionally, if they really want to or if they are bribed properly. Most likely they are too busy uploading selfies than answering your boring brand poll.

Liking in Facebook is quite seldom an act of loyalty. Quite often your most loyal fans do not even know that you have Facebook. It is totally delusional to argue otherwise.  And do not get me wrong, I do not think that there is necessary any value to Facebook like and there has been brilliant campaigns playing around the mindless like-chase. I have to also admit that “Whopper Sacrifice” is still one of the most brilliant FB campaigns ever. They were probably trying to come up with something like that in Norway, but failed miserably.

Much more effective campaign would be to offer people to switch their whopper to Big Mac in Burger King. Then I think more people would show loyalty and you would have gotten nice case study video material. Or do a campaign where you can only like either McDonald´s or Burger King in Facebook, and reward those who select Burger King as their solely FB Burger fan page with free Whopper. With Whopper Sellout the mechanics were just wrong and therefore it failed (and nicely done case study video does not change that fact).

Only good part of the campaign has been the publicity it has garnered (like this long piece on Fast Company). Calculated through that, it might have been worthwhile to lose those 30k fans. They also seem to have gained 2000 new ones after this latest stunt, so maybe it was just really twisted PR stunt and I fell victim to it as well.

Otherwise this just looks like award case study scam gone terribly wrong.

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#LufthansaFAIL: Why You Cannot Separate Customer Service and Social Media?

I am usually not a fan of writing how different brands “fail” on social media. Too often these fails are actually quite trivial and more driven by the urge of “social media experts” to nitpick on every thing. However sometimes you just stumble on things which are quite hard to believe that are still happening in 2013.

Today I noticed there was discussion from Lufthansa wall spreading in Facebook. I went to check it out. You can read the whole correspondence from here, but if post will be deleted, you can also see the highlights below:

Lufthansa fails in Facebook
Because this is all public correspondence from Lufthansa wall (part of the #fail-part), I have not censored any names or such because it is public post.

The start after the first post was a guidebook social media example answer from the company with no customer service capabilities within social media team:

Good answer. Now Lufthansa would just need to make the final reply and everything would be ok.
How Lufthansa fails in Facebook
Further assurances are made that thing is progressed further, but nothing happens for a week:

During this part of the discussion the social media team actually shows that they only work as messengers within the company with no real access to customer service personnel. It also seems that customer service personnel does not really care what comes from social media team either. It also showcases well how the airline companies (not only Lufthansa) are making the access to customer service increasingly difficult. You cannot call anyone and the mails are not answered (or your mails are bounced back). In Facebook you get answered, but unfortunately the answers are not any good. And of course nothing happens on the customer service front:


After this something totally peculiar happens: Lufthansa Facebook team goes totally quiet. Maybe they counted that the situation will eventually die down. But as you can notice from this post, the discussion did not die down. It actually just got more vivid. People started to share this post in social media and now it has garnered almost 100 likes and 72 comments. The post has not been taken down (not that it would probably help in this situation) or not addressed in any way. If you decide to ignore someone in social media, you should make that decision first and not halfway through.

This discussion gives us three lessons:

1. You cannot have the cake and eat it too.
It is impossible to just get the “good” side of the social media such as likes and positive comments. Your Facebook page is also customer service channel whether you have customer service working in your social media team or not. This correspondence shows that the company treats social media as a nice sugarcoating and not really a part of the business. You have to also be accountable for your answers. If you say you are getting back, you really should get back. You do not really need social media expert to tell this. It is just common courtesy and common sense.

2. Handle the social media complaints first
All the customers are not equal. You should treat those better who pay more (your best customers) and you should also treat those first who can cause you the biggest damage (damage prevention). This post has been escalating for three weeks and I do not doubt that it will escalate further.  How difficult it would just to get back to the guy?

3. If you answer the questions in Facebook, follow through
It is of course respectable to have open unsolicited discussion on your Facebook page. In this case, the situation just looks bad and shows more that you do not care about customers. Also although the discussion does not show in your FB front-page it does not mean that it is forgotten. Currently the whole discussion sends the message that anyone in the organization does not really care.

Airline industry is one of the most complained industries in the world and I have had my fair share of challenges with them. Nothing new under the sun in many ways you could say. This situation could have been saved easily on many occasions during this discussion (not to mention the thing has been boiling for three months before). The situation can of course be saved, but it is much harder now.

I am looking forward to how Lufthansa will respond.  At least they have been pondering for the right comment for 1,5 weeks.

EDIT (Apparently now the situation has been sorted out):

Lufthansa Customer Service

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