Marketing Fails – Part 3

So we’ve shown you a few marketing stunts go wrong and PR disasters that made the Australian public cringe (and caused a few people in high places to apologise for insensitive, offensive or plain embarrassing actions), but the following campaigns go beyond the mere title of ‘failure’ to have become downright nightmares for the brands involved!

Here are 3 of the worst outcomes for marketing stunts we could find. If you know of other brand nightmares please let us know in the comments below!

1. Jagermeister Pool Party Poisons Party Goers

German liquor brand Jagermeister decided to hold a pool party in Leon, Mexico, to promote the alcoholic beverage, but party organisers didn’t think things through when they added liquid nitrogen to the pool in an effort to create a cool mist over the water.

What they didn’t realise was that when liquid nitrogen mixes with chlorine (which is typically found in most swimming pools), it creates a toxic gas which ended up poisoning their guests, causing many to start choking and coughing, a few passing out with one 21 year old attendee ending up in a coma for 18 days!

The company was quick to respond and released a statement saying they were working with authorities and event organisers to determine what happened.

The lesson here is to do your research and ensure you have competent people running the show!

2. Pepsi Causes Riots Across the Philippines

In 1992 Pepsi wanted to boost sales in foreign markets and devised “The Number Fever” competition to give away million peso prizes (1 million pesos = about $40,000). There were three digit numbers under Pepsi lids and the cash prizes, as well as a number of second chance prizes were to be announced at the end of the competition. It was initially a huge success with about half the population of the Philippines drinking Pepsi with every meal and collecting the lids with dreams of riches.

What could go wrong?

Certain numbers were selected not to be winners, such as the number 349 which was printed on over 800,000 caps. But when the computer selected the winning number it pulled out the common 349. Pepsi refused to pay the billions of dollars they technically owed contestants, claiming that the winner’s caps had the wrong security code.

It all went downhill from here with rioters boycotting Pepsi, throwing bombs and Molotov cocktails at bottling plants, setting fire to trucks and causing some pretty poor publicity for the company. In the end Pepsi was slammed with thousands of lawsuits costing them over $10,000 in restitution and legal fees.

3. Fiat’s Spanish Stalker Letters

Another 1992 blunder saw Fiat creep out a nation. They thought it would be a great idea to send cute, anonymous love letters that would later be revealed to be from their new Cinquento hatchback. No one saw a problem with this so they sent out 50,000 love letters to women in Spain.

The letters were unsigned, contained no branding and included creepy phrases like “We met again on the street yesterday and I noticed how you glanced interestedly in my direction” and asked the confused recipients to join them on a “little adventure.”

Women freaked out!

Many of the recipients were scared that someone they passed in the street new their address. They were too frightened to leave their homes in the belief they’d be attacked by some obsessed stalker. It even caused fights and jealousy between some couples.

Fiat had to pull the campaign after social advocates and consumer protection groups condemned their “cute” little marketing ploy.


If you know of any disastrous marketing fails please let us know in the comments below. We’d be happy to add them to a marketing disaster follow-up article.

But if you want to avoid a marketing disaster, contact the team at Memery about helping your brand stand out.


Marketing Fails Part 2 – Australian PR Disasters

Our last post on marketing fails looked at some of the worst marketing ideas and backfires.

Marketing can be complex, but Public Relations can be an even trickier game to play. With marketing you can plan and release a campaign, but PR is ongoing, often off the cuff, and sometimes one slip up can become a media nightmare. It’s all about your interaction with your target audience and the media.

A simple blunder can go viral faster than you can make an innocent, misunderstood comment. Just take a look at some of these Australian PR disasters from recent years.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “wink” Continue reading

Marketing Fails – Part 1

Marketing can be hard. Sometimes people don’t realise their idea is terrible or someone might stuff it up by not taking all factors into account. Here are some of our favourite marketing fails….

The Vodafone Streakers

vodafone streakers
In 2002 someone at Vodafone should’ve known that hiring 2 blokes to streak at the Bledisloe Cup wearing nothing but Vodafone logos would be a bad idea. It turns out that interrupting a rugby match between Australia & New Zealand by way of running around nude is in fact illegal.
Continue reading

What is Experiential Marketing?

Have you ever heard of or wondered what Experiential Marketing is?

Experiential Marketing, also known as engagement marketing or guerrilla marketing, is a marketing strategy that aims to directly engage consumers, inviting them to participate in the evolution of the brand. The idea is to not treat consumers as passive receivers of information, but to actually get them involved in the marketing and branding, so they develop a relationship with the brand.

This may seem a little vague so here are some great examples of Experiential Marketing you may have heard about (these engaging marketing campaigns often feature heavily on YouTube and other video channels): Continue reading

Easter – a brand managers sweet spot!

So here we are, another easter just ripe for sweet treats and of course a few extra days off! Brand Managers around the country have been capitalising on this holiday for months now, with edible products adorning supermarket shelves and tempting the most diligent of dieter. Their busy times certainly mean busy times for the rest of us as we make our mark in supporting them to drive exceptional marketing campaigns and boosts in sales. It’s a little like a race to the post with Easter Sunday the finishing line, so one thing we all need – to ensure our break is as enjoyable and relaxing as the next man or woman’s – is a whole lot of organisation. And this goes for all marketers across all industries!

So apart from the confectionary industry cashing in on us mere mortals, what can marketing managers across other industries do to maximise this time of the year? Best bets would be to take stock of current marketing and communications activity for both internal and external stakeholders. Give your team and your customers the opportunity to take their break stress free and to work more on counting their calorie intake than worrying about the work loads they need to come back to.

Ensure your customer’s communications ie. newsletters, brochures, event plans and budgets are all in ship shape prior to the Easter break. Make sure your approvals are up to date so that you can roll out campaigns directly on your return and that your agency partners are on the ball so that you too can enjoy the Easter holiday with confidence.

Lets not forget your staff and team either. Make sure you review their task lists so that they too can walk away on Thursday night un-burdened and able to truly make the most of the break and return refreshed and ready to go. Marketing as a discipline is by nature not a 9 to 5 job, so everyone needs time to unwind so that productivity levels are tip top.

So this Easter week, be kind to your staff, be kind to your customers and clients and ultimately, be kind to yourself.

Content the driver for business success

Many of our clients are currently utilising new media platforms for promotion, activation, branding and information dissemination. With this comes the need to provide relevant and informative content that can be diverse enough to reach current customers and clients as well as to drive new business for future prosperity.

The biggest challenge faced by our clients is having the internal resources to develop such content and of course the know how to put pen to paper and actually prepare something that is meaningful. What we are finding as a communications agency working across these mediums is that organisations understand the need to be involved, therefore are reaching out to professionals such as ourselves to get the job done.

We have had incredible success of late with many  clients  broadening their networks via informed content and communications. Public Relations as a discipline, has never been so vital and diversified with copy writing and the written word required to respond to multiple users across multiple platforms. It’s an exciting time for everyone with so much choice and opportunity to reach target markets with creative commentary. It is undoubtedly the “must do” market engagement activity for all organisations and the ultimate driver for business success.

Read about what we did for the Leukaemia Foundation.

A Huge Success!!

Organisers thrilled at Breaka’s success
Travis Meyn | February 11th, 2013

Crowd at Breaka Burleigh Pro 2013

Spectators enjoy the Breaka Burleigh Pro action at the weekend. Pic: Scott Fletcher

Pictures: Breaka Burleigh Pro 2013

SURFING Queensland CEO Scott Gillies has declared the 2013 Breaka Burleigh Pro the most successful in the event’s history after 60,000 spectators flocked to Burleigh Heads for the world-class event.

The four-star men’s event and six-star women’s contest attracted a host of the world’s top surfers this year, culminating in fantastic surfing in the weekend’s finals.

The likes of world No. 2 Sally Fitzgibbons, who won the women’s contest, and Tweed’s two-time world champion Mick Fanning ensured there was a quality field on hand. Gillies said he was looking to grow the event even further next year.

“It’s certainly been the best Breaka Burleigh Pro in the event’s history,” he said.

“We’ve had eight days of fantastic surf and the level of surfing has been outstanding.

“The spectator numbers have been very high and as far as media coverage goes, we’ve completely hit the bar. We’ve doubled last year’s web stats and everything just seems to be growing exponentially with this event.”

Burleigh Heads was the place to be on the weekend with the contest attracting more supporters than the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Series event at Surfers Paradise.

“Throughout the eight days we’ve had around 50-60,000 (spectators),” Gillies said.

“Last Sunday throughout the day we would have had 10-15,000 people wander through the site and it was about the same today.

“It just seems to grow in stature each year.

“People know about the event now. It’s the first ASP event in the region for the year. It’s certainly cementing itself as a must see.”

The event is an important warm-up for next month’s ASP World Tour Quiksilver and Roxy Pros at Snapper Rocks.

Gillies said he was hoping to bump up the Breaka Pro’s prize money from $90,000 next year and there were other improvements organisers were looking at.

“There’s always something we can improve on but at this stage we’re ecstatic with the results from this year,” he said.

“Event organisers will go back to the drawing board and see what improvements we can make for 2014 to make it bigger and better once again.”

Take a look at our case study for the Breaker Burleigh Pro 2012.

A little bit of beach and a whole lot of work!

So here we are again, our third year working on the Breaka Burleigh Pro! We love this event and thrive on the diverse communication and media channels that have expressed interest in all facets of the surfing pro culture.

They love the human-interest stories, the sports results, and the controversy that can sometimes pop up; and of course this year we have the Women’s ASP 6 star event to work with.

Artist wall at the Breaka Burleigh Pro 2013I must say the work involved with getting every angle out to the media has been phenomenal. So many stories and so many characters to work with this year. This can make a nice change to the usual battle for interview opportunities due to athlete schedules and availability. We had Occhy on board again this year along with Sally Fitzgibbons and other world tour surfers from all over the globe.

Our wildcard competition this year has also generated strong media interest with Kelly Norris and Laura Poncini both making great ambassadors for the event.

The memery team has worked tirelessly with media nationally and has enjoyed the challenge that comes with gaining extensive exposure for the event and most importantly for our client – Breaka!

Ensuring prevalent brand placement can always be a little tricky however with a little ambassador training and diligence on content it can be achieved and i am certainly happy to note that the team here has done just that.

I will report on the communication results of this event shortly so stay tuned and if you happen to be on the Gold Coast this week or heading out of Brisbane for a weekend away I would certainly recommend spending some time at the Breaka Burleigh Pro.

Whilst your there check out this years new addition – The Breaka Artist Wall; hosting many of the coasts top Graffiti artists. We love it and look forward to auctioning them on the Breaka Flavoured Milk facebook page to raise funds for the grant program set up to help underprivileged children have access to surf schools. A great cause and a great way to get involved.

See you there!
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Insights from our Intern – Krystal

During my time as an intern, Memery has opened my eyes to the competitive world of public relations. It has given me the inspiration to continue my career within PR, enlightened and enriched my personal opinion of the industry and reassured myself that an agency can actually be an exciting and enjoyable place.

Why I chose Memery:

With my mind set on finding an PR agency that best reflected my own personality, interests and desire to advance in the PR industry, my direction was clear:

  • I wanted to work for an agency that would challenge me daily
  • I wanted to work with a team that would support me
  • I wanted to work for an agency that dealt with clients that appealed to me

Referred by a friend, I found myself eagerly typing ‘Memery’ into my Google search engine. Straight away their website aesthetics caught my attention and from this moment on, I knew that Memery was the perfect agency to kick-start my professional career.

Memery is all about giving their interns the full industry experience.  I was never asked to make coffee or take out the rubbish; instead, I was immersed into the world of public relations from day one. Each week I was given the opportunity to learn something new and challenge my skills.

Throughout this experience my confidence, knowledge and skills improved extensively.

My advice to future interns:

From an intern on the inside, I’ve pulled together some tips for aspiring public relations practitioners:

1.  Do your research

  • Know the type of PR  company you want to work for before applying – whether it be a small agency or a corporate in-house department

2.  Be honest with your team leader

  • Talk to them about your interests, your skills, previous experience and what you hope to achieve by the end of your internship

3.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help

  • This will get you the respect you deserve and more challenging tasks to work on!

4.  Be confident in sharing your opinion

  • You are part of a team after all

5.  Absorb as much as possible

  • If you are forgetful like myself, bring a notepad and write down EVERYTHING – you can use this as a touch-point in the future.

So if you are sitting on the fence wondering what the industry holds for you… my advice in the words of Nike – ‘Just Do It’! An internship that is.

Do PR Stunts Get Your Attention?

PR stunts were once limited to brands willing to risk their reputation when slightly overstepping the boundaries and for this reason they easily grabbed our attention. After a while we all clicked onto these so called “gimmicks” and began to love their humorous tactics.

Now most brands are willing to be a bit cheekier when it comes to getting our attention and in the process, begin to build their brand personality. This makes it fun for us in the industry of ‘GETTING ATTENTION’ because we get to be creative!

We have put together some of our favourite PR stunts that got us talking:

1. Neon male strips for Contrex Mineral Water

Hot pink exercise bikes line a crowded area, sitting patiently awaiting the curious. In Nestle’s attempt to promote their Contrex Mineral Water to the women of France, they did the unthinkable and stuck a neon-lit male stripper to a large building in a crowded location. With Contrex Mineral Water strategically placed next to each bike, what better way is there to grab the attention of passing females than to invite to them to undress the brightly lit toned male.

You can watch the video for yourself if you’re curious.

2.       Katie Price Tweets Snickers

If you think outdoor promotion is the best way to promote a brand, think again. In a recent stunt facilitated by Katie Price (aka Jordan), Twitter proved to be a stunt domain in hiding. International brand, Snickers, asked Price to post intelligent comments on her largely followed Twitter account for their latest campaign.  After creating mass confusion people started to suggest her account had been hacked, Price revealed what had come over her, “You’re not you when you’re hungry”.

3. Barbie Tram stops Melbourne

So its Barbie’s 80th Anniversary, how do I know this? Two words, Barbie Tram! Mattel has just proved that even though their Barbies are heading to retirement, their brand strategies are not. Call it a facelift or just plain good PR, but Barbie has managed to burst through the competitive toy world and stop fellow Melbournians in their tracks, when the number 96 Barbie closet tram was unveiled in March.

4.       Ikea ‘sleepers’ on public transport

Sleeping on public transport has long been considered plain embarrassing and awkward (if you break out in snores). To shock the system, Ikea bounced back with a unique creative strategy. In a bid to win back support and get their ever expanding brand name on the lips of every Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne commuter, Ikea took their sleepyheads to the heart of each city – public transport.

5. Huge Angry Birds stunt at Seattle’s Space Needle

When the Angry Birds Apple App sprung into the spotlight not long ago, it quickly turned into a smart-phone users’ ultimate leisure addiction. Fast forward a year and it was inevitable that the hype would soon die down. In a bid to regain strength in the market and promote the new and improved version, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds positioned a very large 35-foot Angry Bird on Seattle’s 605-foot tall Space Needle.


Yes these tactics created hype, yes they created interest, and yes they proved to be an effective PR tactic – which is why we loved them!