Social Media Fails of 2016: What They Got Wrong So You Can Get It Right



You’ve either got it… or you don’t and you only have one chance to make that lasting impression. The internet, after all, is wildly unforgiving and sometimes for very good reasons. From campaigns that veered just a little bit left of center to brands that got it REALLY, REALLY wrong and REALLY, REALLY gross, here are four social media fails of 2016 to remind you how NOT to be “that company” that has the PR world wondering WTF…

Vera Bradley Thinks You Live in 1950s 

Ok… Vera Bradley never said you loved your ironing board, but its “It’s Good to Be a Girl” social campaign invited social media users to tell them why it is so good to be a girl. While it IS good to be a girl, what it is NOT good to be is stuck in a trying-too-hard-to-be-feminist mindset that actually sets women back a little. The problem here wasn’t so much the idea, but the execution.

Vera Bradley has always been more widely dominated by women over 25. As a result, the campaign felt a little bit amateur and rushed through. Worse, the statements that they chose to feature on their social feeds were pretty 1950s and even a little too youthful. We get it. Some girls like baking and listening to music on their ear buds. There is nothing wrong with either. However, Vera Bradley would have been better served to use power statements that celebrated strong women. They just missed the mark.

What Vera Bradley Got Wrong:

  • They forgot that the internet is highly sensitive.
  • They forgot it was 2016.


Seoul Secret is Gross… Really Gross

What does Seoul Secret smoke while they come up with ideas that they think are appropriate and good? We aren’t sure, but it is probably illegal. This skin-lightening beauty brand decided to place a woman in two different pictures that showed her with lighter skin and a picture that depicted her in black paint. The slogan was “White makes you win.” Um, excuse us? To take it even further, the idea behind the campaign was a series of examples that revealed the company thought that lighter skin helped you to succeed in life. Bye, Seoul Secret… Just – bye.  

 What Seoul Secret Got Wrong:

  • They were super racist and icky. Seriously… this one is a no-brainer.


Coke Forgot About World War II

You can do anything when you are mega-brand Coke, but the internet and Russia are really harsh critics – even when you are the leading soda in the galaxy. So, the controversy was that Coke featured a snow-covered map of Russia that was pretty outdated, leaving out the annexed Kaliningrad that came in after WWII. The company used an old map to depict its message and the message Russians sent back was “Screw you, Coke.” There was even a hashtag that invited drinkers to #BanCocaCola and snaps of patrons pouring Coke down toilets. When people start wasting Coke, then you know you are batting zero.

 What Coke Got Wrong:

  • They failed geography.
  • They forgot to fact check and verify the age of images.


DC Comics and Research? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

So this snafu actually became memes. DC Comics posted a picture of a Superman comic announcing that the issue been translated from Pakistan. The hurdle with this one is that Pakistan is not a language. It is just a place people live and speak Urdu. Surprisingly, no one was really all that offended. Instead, Pakistanis decided to poke fun at the ad on social media and give DC Comics a little bit of a lesson in their native tongue.

What DC Comics Got Wrong:

  • They failed to conduct simple research.


Some businesses make you want to hop in their shoes and steal their thunder… however, these 4 campaigns made you really glad that you had no affiliation. With several months left in 2016, don’t risk being another social media snafu. Use common sense and do a little math… it never killed anybody – that we know of.


To learn more about how to a positive and lasting impression of your business on social media and the internet, give us a call or send us a note today at Small Dog Creative 661-702-1310! 


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