When it comes to your credit union’s marketing, what’s one of the worst things that can happen? Creating an ad that you think is awesome—only to find your masterpiece at the center of a social media uproar due to its perceived offensiveness. That scenario may sound far-fetched, but I’m willing to bet that most of the companies that have experienced this nightmare never thought it would happen to them. So, what’s the best way to handle it if your organization’s advertisement went viral for all the wrong reasons? Let’s take a look at a recent misstep by Peloton®.
What Peloton experienced last week went far beyond the objections of a few exercise-hating trolls. The high-tech exercise equipment company heard from thousands—perhaps hundreds of thousands—of people mocking them for becoming “tone deaf” in their advertising. Their gaffe came in the form of a new holiday ad that featured a svelte, slender woman receiving one of the company’s interactive stationary bikes as a Christmas morning surprise. The ad generated a flood of social media responses, many echoing the sentiment of one Twitter comment that read, “Nothing says ‘maybe you should lose a few pounds’ like gifting your already rail-thin life partner a Peloton.”
In the advertising circles, many suggested the ad could have been produced in better taste with a variance in creative. And while it certainly could have benefitted from a different approach, the commercial itself was not the company’s biggest mistake. No, their biggest mistake was how they responded to the criticism. How bad could it have been? Peloton’s official corporate response was as follows:
“While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by—and grateful for—the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.”
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