June 15, 2016

Questionable Engagement Generating Advertising

We keep saying it over and over and are sure some of you are sick of it… but one last time: Customer engagement is the way to increase revenue! It should be the ultimate goal of every retail business both in store and with advertisement. Give customers more of what they are looking for and go above and beyond with your in-store experience and your revenue will be above and beyond what you are currently making.

However, some brands may take advertising and customer experiences it to the tipping point with their campaigns. Although many of the ideas do draw attention and create engagement, many are flawed and don’t produce the outcome the brand is looking for. Below we will cover a few questionable engagement tactics and campaigns that have led to some controversy and many baffled minds.

Starbucks #RaceTogether

This campaign was released and then shut down in less than a week. Was it really a smart idea to bring employees and customers together to talk about the topic of race? Writing #racetogether on coffee cups and trying to get employees to engage in a conversation about race sounds like it may create a potentially awkward situation. Conversations around race take a bit more than just writing on a cup and a 30 second chat while you’re half asleep waiting for a beverage. Not only did this campaign slow down the service at Starbucks stores but the negative comments the campaign has received have been wild. People have been ‘discussing’ the campaign and unfortunately, Starbucks’s brand image has suffered some backlash.

The takeaway – engagement is good but think seriously about your brand image and what you are trying to achieve with each campaign.

Colgate – Photoshop Disaster Campaign

This campaign was smart, but does it truly get the point across? Colgate tried to engage consumers with this happy couple and their flaws. Take a look at the image above, notice anything wrong? Only the fact that the lady has  6 fingers and the male has a little speck between his teeth. The idea is that your smile (teeth) gets more attention than anything else. The problem I see with this is that the message may be lost on many customers. Colgate’s branding is quite small and the message below the floss is even tinier. In some of the other images Colgate created, you might even miss the mistakes thus completely missing the beauty of the ads. You have to wonder, did the ads engage people and do their job?

Jägermeister Pool Party

Mix liquid nitrogen and chlorine together and it may not be the best concoction for a riveting pool party.  The party was organised to promote and encourage brand recognition. It received a large amount of press, but clearly wasn’t thought through very well. The mix ended with 9 party goers in the hospital and one in a coma.

Launch events are a great way to create engagement. They drum up excitement and can help your customers truly experience the brand’s DNA. Launch events engage those attending and many more through social media due to the fact that attendees will share content. Those who attend often end up telling those close to them about their experience and can potentially generate referrals.

Finding the correct engagement tactic is vital to any marketing plan or ad campaign. A great deal of planning and thought are instrumental in a great campaign. Incorporating ways of capturing data around the event is a great way to get accurate, strategic and specific knowledge to understand your ROI and also to help you with future events.


Make sure to fully understand the goals you are trying to achieve with any campaign. Even when a certain campaign or idea may seem like an obviously good one, make sure to do a bit of research around how it will be perceived. The trick to engagement is keeping it simple, making it remarkable and making sure to capture data so that you can actually learn from it.

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At Kepler we believe that privacy is most important. Secondly, understanding your foot traffic and visual merchandising is the start to bridging the gap between the physical and digital. Customer behaviour can help you see what types of communications are working. Linking your foot traffic to digital and traditional marketing campaigns will allow you to see how your marketing efforts actually affect sales. Our goal is to grow your Revenue! As always, do your research and use a solution that helps you achieve the goals of each new project.