Big Time Fails - Carney
The Daily Carnage

Big Time Fails

Lessons learned from the year’s biggest brand fails. Plus, we’ve got answers to the most common digital marketing questions & a mini food video.

You’ve Got Questions, Perpetual Traffic Has Answers

The problem with digital marketing is that there are almost too many questions that need answers. Questions like, what’s the best way to build an advertising audience? What should I be testing when running an A/B test? How do I constantly come up with content ideas? We can keep going with these…

That’s where today’s Listen fits in. It’s from one of our favs—Perpetual Traffic. In this episode, they answer 10 of the most common digital marketing questions. Even if you’re a digital marketing pro with all the answers, you can learn something from this one.

Show notes and timestamps right here:

  • (2:10) Should content development come before paid traffic? Nope! You can definitely be successful in driving traffic to your website without having content.
  • (6:27) What should be your priority with A/B testing? It depends on what will make the biggest difference with your ad campaign. Hint: It’s likely not the color of the image. Instead, test the offer, drastically different ad copy, and the ad targeting.
  • (9:10) Should you use multiple lookalike audiences in one ad set?
  • (10:33) Is straight up buying leads a good strategy? Nah, fam. Come on. We’re a little shocked that DigitalMarketer isn’t against this approach.
  • (11:22) What is your daily checklist for monitoring and optimizing Facebook campaigns?
  • (13:08) Quit chasing “hacks.” Hacks are just a way to cheat yourself. You need to take the time to learn marketing. If you are good at marketing basics, you’ll be able to stay relevant no matter what happens in marketing.
  • (15:46) How can a small business run retargeting ads that convert? If retargeting ads aren’t working, you’re either targeting the wrong audience or giving them the wrong offer.
  • (17:34) What’s going to be the next big platform? As Facebook gets more saturated, it will get more expensive so what’s next? Hard to say, it’s going to depend on what gets the most users. Right now, Facebook, YouTube, and Google dominate and they will continue to dominate.

More to learn in today’s Listen.

Lessons Learned From the 5 Biggest Brand Fails of 2017

Do you wanna guess which campaigns made it to this roundup? Do “Dove” and “Pepsi” conjure up any cringes? Where were you the first time you yelled, “Oh…mygod, how did this make it passed a team of brand professionals?!

For some brands, 2017 was a breakthrough year for them. For others, 2017 will likely be the year they’re known for producing some of the absolute worst and most tone-deaf campaigns—like ever. (We will be “WTF”ing Dove until the end of time.)

But, from all fails, comes lessons, and what we learned from all these brand fails is: don’t exploit people’s pain for an ad. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

Pepsi: “Live for Now”

Ah…who could forget Pepsi’s short film starring Kendall Jenner, who magically solves a very tense protest with a can of Pepsi? The spot was quickly pulled amidst outrage and backlash on social media. It’s considered “one of the most reviled ads in recent memory.”

Lesson learned: Don’t put your product in the center of social issues while simultaneously trivializing said issues. Never make light of social issues related to people’s suffering. Seems like obvious one, but alas…


Using the company’s Facebook Spaces VR app, Zuckerberg took people through a “magical tour” (as he dubbed it!!!) through the damage in Puerto Rico after the hurricanes. Why?! To hopefully result in people wanting to use the app. Instead, it was just was seen as completely exploitative.

Lesson learned: Think about your ad from multiple perspectives. An internal team should have the wherewithal to warn someone about the potential pitfalls of covering sensitive subjects like natural disasters.

As much as we would love to continue to put these big brands on blast, you’ll have to take it from here. Still more gaffs from Dove, McDonald’s, and Uber inside. →

Small Fry

Only in Portland, Oregon would KFC open a miniature pop-up shop for one day only. Bringing a whole new meaning to “shop small,” KFC was serving up mini $5 fill-up boxes to the public—luckily, free of charge because they’re only one-twelfth the size of a regular fill-up box.

Here’s what George Felix, KFC U.S. director or technology, told The Daily Meal:

“We’re always considering new ways to use innovation and technology to do out-of-the-box things that have become ‘on brand’ for us. The mini foods video is a shareable way to show how our famous Original Recipe fried chicken is prepared the hard (and mini) way. To bring it to life and make it authentic, we decided to open the world’s smallest KFC, offering up a unique experience for fans.”

Spoiler alert: the video is very mesmerizing and very cute.

“It’s the real, raw authenticity that people are craving because a lot of people don’t know what to believe anymore.”
Sue B. Zimmerman

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