3 Viral Marketing Campaigns That Went Horribly Wrong | AltusHost

Our Blog

3 Viral Marketing Campaigns That Went Horribly Wrong

  • Category : Marketing
  • Posted on : May 30, 2016
  • By : AltusHost
Altus Host

The world of marketing is so diverse that, if you want to find a formula that works, you will just hit a brick wall. In fact, a great number of people who are actually some of the best marketing experts in the world say that every marketing campaign is different and, depending on your niche, your target audience, your geolocation, and whatever product or service you are trying to sell, your approach is to be tailored in a unique way.

Now, if you are a small business and you are just starting out, it is rather normal that you experience a few drawbacks when trying to push your product and/or service forward. In the business marketing world, one learns from their mistakes. However, is it possible for a corporate giant that has decades of experience in their field of work to make a big mistake when trying to market something? The answer is obviously yes, and this will be the main topic of this article.

So, without further ado, here are 5 viral marketing campaigns that did not turn out quite the way they were supposed to.

Our Twitter Account Got Hacked!!! Allegedly…



In 2013, the famous American restaurant chain Chipotle had a lot to celebrate. It was their 20-year anniversary, so they decided to do something special. On TV and in some newspapers and magazines, they advertised their new treasure hunt challenge with clues and whatnot. It was supposed to last for 20 days – each day a symbolic representation of one year of their success. They named the hunt “Adventurrito”, which is a cool option to say the least. Things were going smoothly until they decided to fake a hacker attack on their Twitter account.

They posted a series of random tweets and, soon after, they issued a statement, apologizing for this and saying that their Twitter account got hacked. But, this was not the truth, and people knew it. Within each tweet, you could find a clue about one of the ingredients in their new guacamole recipe. Of course, their customers were not amused and the company received a series of complaints.

On the bright side, they managed to attract thousands of followers every day and each supposedly hacked tweet was retweeted more than 10.000 times.

Hey, Let’s Use 9/11 to Boost Our Twitter Account a Bit!!!



It appears that 2013 was the year of bad Twitter decisions for some major companies. On September 11th, one of the greatest phone companies in America, AT&T, decided to post a rather controversial tweet. Using one of their phones, they took a photo of the site where the Twin Towers used to be and they posted it on their Twitter with the caption: “Never forget!” Bad move, AT&T… Bad move…

They did manage to get a lot of exposure and their tweet did reach millions, but those millions were certainly not amused.

We Sell Cars, but on Our Instagram, You’ll have Trouble Finding Them



Audi is a brand that is synonymous with stability, quality, even beauty. Their marketing stunts were always good… Well, except for one.

They are currently promoting their new A3 model. On social media, they introduced a #PaidMyDues campaign. Basically, they wanted people to share their success stories and the most inspiring ones would receive a gift. Their story will be used to create art pieces, done by some of the world’s most popular artists. This doesn’t sound that bad, right? And, it’s not, actually. The campaign went over well on almost all major Social Media platforms, except one.

On Instagram, Audi’s followers wanted to see beautiful cars and nothing else. After this campaign saw the light of day, their Instagram got filled with random art and this was not appreciated by their fans.

To wrap up, as you can see, even giants tend to trip over sometimes. After all, we are all human and it is human to make mistakes. Yes, that’s one way of putting it. However, the fact of the matter is that, if you want to a stand up brand, you cannot allow such a slip. It is difficult, it is tiring, but that’s the only way to go. And, if it happens, you just have to do your best to rectify your mistake.

Do you have any examples of viral marketing campaigns going incredibly wrong? If you do, feel free to share them.

Recent Articles