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Tips & Tricks

Content Marketing Misfires: Ads That Tried But Didn’t Quite Succeed

Everyone does some form of content marketing. Here are five that missed their marks.

Most brands are now publishing some form of content marketing. Be it videos, blogs, newsletters, or photos, they are jumping headfirst into this world and hoping to attract new and current customers.
But with demanding publishing schedules and plenty of special occasions to plan campaigns around, the frantic work pace can leave some campaigns to hit the bullseye while others miss the mark. But all press is good press (right?), and though every campaign can’t be a winner, at least these brands are pursuing greatness.
Let’s take a look at five content marketing misfires that happened so far this year.

The NASCAR on Fox and AllRecipes collaboration

To promote NASCAR on Fox, the TV network teamed up with to create a recipe portal for the day of the race. While it’s a good effort, it isn’t quite a unique offering, since it curates recipes that already exist on the site. Why can’t users just look up recipes themselves? What’s so special about the race day in terms of food? Can’t users just make regular party food or source recipes from the Super Bowl?
Next year, why not have the racecar drivers share their own recipes? People would be more excited if they could see their favorite drivers in a different light.
Photos of some of the recipes on Fox’s NASCAR page on

Microsoft’s Fetch facial recognition

In an effort to show off its facial recognition capabilities, Microsoft launched a campaign where you can upload a photo and see what dog you look like the most. You can also take a photo of a dog whose breed you can’t identify and see what Microsoft thinks it is. Users are doing it through the Fetch app, which is free and available on both desktop and mobile.
While it’s a cute idea, it’s hard to figure out that Microsoft is trying to promote its facial recognition software. It seems like it’s teaming up with a dog-centric company, which it’s not. Plus, what does it do if a dog is a mixed breed? And how does this guy look like a Doberman Pinscher exactly (though to be fair, the more you look at it…)?doberman
The Fetch app in action. But is it really accurate?

Harry’s H’University

Shaving company Harry’s has started offering online classes and job postings on its new branded content website, H’University. The brand hopes to empower its customers to become more successful in their careers. This is a fantastic concept, but where it falls short is its connection to the brand.
Sure, young men who buy Harry’s razors may also be interested in furthering their education and advancing their careers. But what about providing classes on achieving the perfect look? How about an interview with a shaving expert? If the brand mixes fashion and appearance lectures into its course selection, it would make much more sense for H’University to exist.harrys
On H’University, students can watch talks with the top entrepreneurs of today.

Spotify’s matchmaking service for Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day this year, Spotify offered a free dating service via a microsite to advertising agency employees across the world. The music player made matches based on people’s locations, agencies they’re employed at, and what kind of music they like. The company’s theory is that matches can be made based on musical taste.
About 4,000 people used the service, and it barely made a splash. Next time, maybe Spotify will be a little more nuanced about matches or figure out a better way to tie its service into dating. Or, perhaps Spotify should stay out of the matchmaking game altogether and stick to what it does best: provide great music for people.
Spotify-V-DayMatchmaker, matchmaker, make me…a playlist instead.

Wendy’s launches microsite

Wendy’s is doing its darndest to appeal to millennials and prove its burgers are fresh, not frozen, through its new microsite The site is full of bright colors and “I Can Has Cheezeburger?” spelling errors that make it look like an infomercial gone bad.
Instead of providing quality content, the site is one big ad that makes it look as though Wendy’s is trying way too hard. Some might say it’s over the top. Millennials love the absurd, but they also love facts. Why not videos about the farmers that supply its meat and actual footage from its stores? That could be much more effective for building trust with its customers.
WendysThe Wendy’s microsite looks like a 1980s infomercial.

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