How a commercial ad can ruin your brand image


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There was an idea, where a multi-billion dollar company thought they could solve racism with a 🥤fizzy drink. Back in 2017, the world-renowned company Pepsi released an ad that was going to wreak havoc offline and online. To those of you who haven’t seen the ad, let me give you a glimpse into this recipe for an incredible marketing disaster.

It began with visuals of a diverse protest which seemed to be mirroring the black lives matter movement. It showed supermodel Kendall Jenner reducing all the tension to ashes after offering the stoic policeman a soda and voila, the world became a harmonious place again!

Bravo to the ad that single-handedly united everyone in a collective cringe-fest (that was the purpose, right?)

Viewers all around were scratching their heads, confused, and somewhat angry. Even from a business standpoint, the company’s stock prices dipped after the ad’s release and it led to a decline in their financial standing as well as brand favorability.

Now that we’ve seen one of the biggest corporations slip up in their advertising, let’s look at the disastrous failure of a company that may not be as big as Pepsi but sure had a marketing blunder just as colossal. We’re talking about a company that thought it was a good idea to display the CEO’s social security number on national television just to prove a point.

Lifelock Services is an identity theft prevention company. And to make a point, they made an ad, which proved something else.

In this ad, we see a truck going around the city brandishing CEO Todd Davis’ social security number and claiming that LifeLock services are so secure that he does not have to worry about identity theft. What followed shortly after was not very surprising.

Todd Davis had his identity stolen.

13 times.

Social media had a field day with this one and soon LifeLock became famous but for all the wrong reasons.

Such a fiasco became a case study on how NOT to execute a video marketing campaign and no matter how preposterous this entire scenario was, it surely stands as a reminder in the marketing world that risk management and careful consideration of your ideas go a long way. 

All of this goes to show that no matter how big of a business giant your company may be, all of that can be diminished by one bad video. Well, The only thing worse than an ordinary nightmare is a PR nightmare.

Nowadays, videos have become THE tool to capture attention and draw consumers towards your brand. However, it is easy to get distracted in this overwhelming advertisement world (to create the most unique video ever).

Along this process, you lose track of what your company stands for and the audience to whom you're are trying to get the message across. Now that we’ve seen what the impact of a bad video, let’s try to understand, what makes a bad video.

There is no fixed formula for the “perfect” video but there are certain parameters to ensure your video performs well. Without clear and defined goals to meet, having a video marketing campaign remains null and void. Businesses should know their audiences inside out so they cater to the right consumer base. If you’re an adventure sports company who’s shooting your video indoors then you might want to reconsider your strategy. When you think of good marketing, you usually think of that one ad that moved you and stayed with you even after you finish watching it. 

We have an exclusive in-depth guide for $79, if you're interested. Request a free copy from one of our video producers. They will be happy to help.

As Jeffrey Gitomer perfectly put it, “People don’t love to be sold, but they love to buy!” Video marketing is not just a shiny new trend but it’s one of the most powerful ways to connect with consumers. The plethora of ways you can establish your brand’s mission and vision statement is endless. It can be a symphony of visuals, storytelling, editing and creativity all orchestrated in the most attractive way possible. So, the next time your business needs to put out a video, press pause and play it smart. 

At What a Story, we pride ourself with dedication, to never let anything disastrous to your brand. Schedule a call with us, and understand how?

Laasya Rayaprolu
“A young and ever-learning soul interned at What a Story. Laasya is good with words, and she does not need ChatGPT.”

✓ Blog edited by

Rees Gargi

Rees Gargi

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