Even though many businesses fall in love with the idea of creating a campaign that sparks attention, some of them miss the mark. An amazing idea can fall victim to poor execution, leaving target audiences with an aftertaste that might not have been as “refreshing” as they had hoped.

This was the case when Coca-Cola teamed up with Delta Airlines. Playing on Coca-Cola’s tried and true brand messaging of inspiring connections, Delta handed out napkins with the Coke insignia, encouraging passengers to write down their number and give it to their “plane crush.” As much as the campaign was geared towards getting people to connect with each other, it came off creepy and unsolicited to some of Delta’s passengers.

So, what went wrong? How can a marketing campaign with a great message fall flat with its targeted audience? I have a few thoughts to share about it, and for me, it came down to two things: a lack of attention to all of their customers’ values, and the location for their execution.

Advertising and the #MeToo era

There’s no doubt in my mind that the #MeToo movement has offered some valuable food for thought, especially in terms of how we advertise. Although there are still some sexist ads out there, there has been a greater awareness towards these misogynistic advertising tactics, and how they affect the female members of an audience.

Many women have stated that they don’t always feel safe in public. This has been a discussion that has been frequently addressed in the media, and it’s caused many marketers to give pause in regards to their campaigns. As a marketer, this is a big factor that I believe Delta and Coca-Cola missed in their campaign.

Many women may feel nervous about the prospect of giving (or receiving) a number from a stranger. Because of many women feeling threatened after rejecting an invitation from someone who has approached them, this campaign runs the risk of putting some of their targeted audience in a vulnerable position, which can ultimately cause your marketing campaign to receive negative attention.

Location, location, location!

The last thing I want to do while I’m flying is talk to people I don’t know. I’ll usually take that time to tie up some business work, or try to relax before I get to my destination. I’ve spoken to a lot of business owners who feel the same way – the travel time is best put to use with work or relaxation, and most of them don’t like to be interrupted. Delta and Coca-Cola’s campaign is not conducive to this type of targeted audience .

As a marketer, you need to think about whether or not your targeted audience wants to be marketed to in the first place, and if you’ve chosen the right venue to do so. Handing out Coca-Colas on a busy street corner during a hot day? That’s a way to get thirsty customers excited about your product! Handing out napkins and encouraging people to give out their personal information on an airplane? That may not be a winning tactic.

One of the big questions here is whether or not the same marketing tactic would have worked on a busy street corner. The short answer is that it really depends! Do you want to target single men and women looking to make a connection? Is your target demographic open to this form of networking? If the answers to these questions is “yes”, this could work. However, you will still need to be mindful of political movements, and determine whether or not the marketing gamble is worth the risk.

Sometimes, a great idea isn’t enough to determine the success of a marketing campaign – it takes a lot more than a fancy idea to achieve your marketing goals. If you want to learn more about how you can reach your targeted audience with a successful marketing strategy, contact me today. I’m happy to put you on the path to marketing success!