Examples Of Accidental Success In Marketing

Examples Of Accidental Success In Marketing

One of the greatest challenges in the marketing world is to make the choreographed look casual, and have extensively planned campaigns look effortless to a casual observer.

This is especially true of the modern social media trend of irreverent and personable brand accounts that through either careful planning, micromanagement or a trusting hand create an engaging persona first and use that to market their brand identity after, as most infamously seen with the social media accounts of Wendy’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

However, some of the most fascinating case studies in marketing are those that occur by accident, either through an unexpected reaction to a marketing campaign, a potential brand disaster or a blunder that through savvy PR is turned into a success or some combination of the two.

Here are some interesting examples of accidental marketing successes.

Internet Sends Pitbull To Remote Alaska

As the social media saga of Boaty McBoatface can prove, social media contests and creative calls to action can lead to some rather strange outcomes.

However, an exception to this that actually not only did not become a disaster but arguably rehabilitated a controversial pop star’s image and career was the story of Armando Christian Pérez’s trip to the most remote Wal-Mart in the United States.

The Pitbull contest was meant to give fans a chance to see him in their local supermarket, but the inevitable attempt to play a joke on him by sending him as far away from the rest of the USA as possible backfired when Pitbull actually turned up.

Not only did the event get Wal-Mart far more attention than it would have had the contest ended normally, but it changed the public image of Pitbull from an egomaniacal partier into a humble musician with a sense of humour.

When KFC Ran Out Of Chicken

Typically when a restaurant known only for selling one type of food runs out, it has the makings of a major disaster; and so it initially seemed when in February 2018 KFC ran out of the “FC”.

It led to a mix of indignation, dramatic complaints from unhappy customers and a huge number of derisive jokes, but KFC managed to turn it around by making the shocking decision to simply apologise for it.

The slightly cheeky and rude advert simply apologised to customers, credited staff and franchise partners for doing what they could and explained that chicken was on the way.

A False Meerkat Advert Changes A Company’s Fortunes

Price comparison websites were a huge emerging market in the early 2000s, and Compare the Market did not have anything that stood out compared to other competing companies such as Confused or GoCompare.

However, they did what was intended to be a one-off advert involving a computer-generated meerkat with a Russian accent, and, just as suddenly, Compare the Meerkat became a tremendous success with a brand and mascot that became popular largely by accident.

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