Mistakes are going to happen. In this episode Don and Rob talk about marketing mistakes, the reasons why they happen, and what moving forward looks like.
Don Mock 0:19
All right, Episode 17 Rob,
Rob Broadfoot 0:21
Episode 17. And I know most of you out there the legions of fans listening are thinking to yourselves, wow, advertising is perfect. Yeah, it’s always right. Marketing is always, always on target. Hit the bullseye every time. You might be wrong.
Don Mock 0:38
Rob Broadfoot 0:39
So we were talking a little bit about just sort of classic marketing or advertising blunders. Throughout history. And we have a couple of our own little anecdotes, but we were thinking first, about some of the obvious ones, the classics. I think the classic blunder was the the Chevy Nova.
Don Mock 0:56
Rob Broadfoot 0:56
And they named their car of course, “Nova.” Which in Spanish means “it doesn’t go.”
Don Mock 1:02
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Rob Broadfoot 1:04
So funny to think that that actually made it through.
Don Mock 1:08
Yeah, you know, groupthink, right? Nobody’s thinking right? Or there’s no outside perspective. Now we think the world is definitely a much smaller place, I think than it was back then. But hey, we’re thinking about muscle cars or designing cool things you know what I mean? We’re thinking galaxies and, and space race in the 60s and whatever, and not necessarily thinking about, you know, the Latin American market, right? And translation. So I mean, you blunder from a naming birth, and there’s a lot of different blunders in advertising and marketing history. But from a naming perspective, it’s interesting that that’s kind of always the case study. Right? For for naming a product.
Rob Broadfoot 1:46
Yeah. I mean, we always say, around here, when we’re working on stuff. It’s a constant reminder to Hey, stop, stop. We’re also close to this. Let’s take a minute, pretend we’ve never seen it and format it fresh as if we didn’t have any idea. What we were looking at.
Don Mock 2:01
Yeah, exactly. outside perspective is a wonderful thing.
Rob Broadfoot 2:04
Don Mock 2:05
And then there’s that two sides of the coin of hey, if everybody comes up with the same idea and everybody is in lockstep. It’s either Hey, great minds think alike, or if everybody’s thinking the same thing, is everybody really thinking at all? You know, do you need that outside perspective, that type of thing. So, advertising, blunder number one in history, the Chevy Nova.
Rob Broadfoot 2:26
Yeah, advertising number two, based in Atlanta as we are, of course, home of Coca Cola. Everyone’s favorite sugar water.
Don Mock 2:34
Rob Broadfoot 2:35
And it was back in the 80s. I don’t remember what year it would have been. But this wasn’t necessarily a marketing blunder. Although they’re all tied together. This was a product development blunder. And they decided that even though they were selling billions upon trillions, haha… file this under if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? So everybody was super excited. Remember when they came out with a new coke. We got new coke, new bottles, we got new branding, we got new, everything.
Don Mock 3:03
Couldn’t be more excited. I mean, we’ve taken coke and we’ve revolutionized it.
Rob Broadfoot 3:06
That’s right. We’ve taken what you know and love. And completely changed it. Which is exactly what happened. So customers rushed to the store to try this new and, in theory, improved coke and it was not.
Don Mock 3:20
Come to, come to find out it was not that good.
Rob Broadfoot 3:25
And they immediately did a U turn. I would be curious to look back and see how long it lasted. But it wasn’t long.
Don Mock 3:31
Now. Well, you can tell by our copious amounts of show prep and show notes that we have that we know the exact year and time and how long everything is, but I think anecdotally is what we’re talking about. I mean I would argue that to a certain extent, it’s a good case study to make a negative a positive. So even though we’re talking about blunders, you know, now we’ve got Coke Classic was the fallout of that, right? And the concept of the classic the original, you know, and turning a negative into a positive right, that old joke about Volvo is, you know, boxy, but safe, right? Not the best looking car out there. But hey, safety scheme. So, you know, it definitely is a blunder from a product development perspective. You know, and I guess you could kind of tie it into a blender for marketing. They did such a great job on you know, marketing it that the product didn’t live up to the hype.
Rob Broadfoot 4:21
Well, they added the old adage is nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising.
Don Mock 4:27
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Rob Broadfoot 4:29
So yeah, New Coke. That was a big that was a big blunder. You’d mentioned Red Lobster. Tell that anecdote
Don Mock 4:35
Red Lobster. I think it’s interesting from a promotion perspective, right. A few years ago. I believe it was early 2000s 2003. Somewhere around there. They ran an all you can eat crab legs promotion, right. So hey, come to Red Lobster. We’ve got delicious crab legs.
Rob Broadfoot 4:35
Don Mock 4:42
Yeah, $22.99 sounds about right. I’ll believe it. And in a surprising shocking turn of events, no one saw coming. When you let people order as many crab legs as they want, they ordered lots of crab legs, right? So I think there was a big multi million dollar loss right across all of the Red Lobster chains. Because hey, we’ve got commercials, snow crab leg fest, or whatever the case may be, right? And we went in there, and, you know, we ate a hell of a lot of crab legs, and they had to redeem it. And so that’s a little bit of a promotions are their own weird thing. A lot of times now we have insurance, and we’ve got all sorts of different verification methods to prevent companies from, you know, over redemption and, you see more legal and promotions than ever now in turn limit one right household all sorts of crazy stuff, right? Well, even as recently as 20 years ago, we ate a lot of crab legs to the tune of, you know, millions of dollars lost.
Rob Broadfoot 5:47
Yeah, I think the problem with that is number one, it’s not like you’re offering up you know, all you can eat nachos. A Nacho is not an expensive treat. Yeah, it sounds delicious. Yeah, it’s not expensive.
Don Mock 5:59
Rob Broadfoot 6:00
Crab legs are expensive.
Don Mock 6:01
Rob Broadfoot 6:02
They’re and they’re so tasty. Mighty tasty. And next to one of those cheese biscuits and man, you got yourself a meal.
Don Mock 6:08
Hey, this is definitely not a knock on Red Lobster.
Rob Broadfoot 6:12
Don Mock 6:13
We’ll take an adorsment anytime.
Rob Broadfoot 6:14
$22.99 a plate. The company figured as long as each customer didn’t eat more than two plates. They would remain profitable. But again, crab legs are delicious.
Don Mock 6:25
Yeah, to your point it’s not the Olive Garden endless breadsticks. I mean, we’re talking about crab legs here. So I mean, you know, blunder is an interesting, fun term. You know, I think it can apply to a lot of different aspects of business. It applies, here naming, product development, and then promotion. Right? And sort of three interesting examples. I thought it might be fun to share. You know, as you mentioned, in the lead in here, advertising is the best creative, most amazing, perfect career ever yet, both of us have been struck with individual blunders over their career.
Rob Broadfoot 7:03
Yeah, I’m happy to tell mine and it’s, I can laugh about it now. But at the time, boy, it was catastrophic. And file this also under, “let’s not take ourselves too seriously.” We’re not saving people’s lives here. We’re not, you know, saving the world by any stretch of the imagination. So I was working on a project. And I was the writer on the creative team. And I won’t bore you to tears. But the idea was, we had created all of these sort of fake products. And we were doing a big photoshoot, we were mimicking the inside of a hardware store, okay, inside a hardware store. So pretty, pretty intense set design, where we had shelves upon shelves of all these different products that we got kind of came up with, okay. And the one product in this case where they were jumper cables, okay, and we but we manufactured sort of this label and branded them I think it was Lightning Joe’s jumper cables. So it had, you know, imagine they were probably hard to remember but there were probably 10 of these things that you could see where we had to comp up all the labels and everything else and meticulously designed and crafted these things. And so we get to shoot day. We had an all day shoot planned. So we get to the we get to the shoot. Everything looks great. We’re poking around everything looks good. Set looks great styles did a great job. Yeah. And client shows up.
Don Mock 8:23
Yeah. As often they do.
Rob Broadfoot 8:25
As often they do client comes in as a cup of coffee and has taken a look at everything and just kind of Yeah, and I watched her look at the Lightning Joe’s. The set design and all the production and what not. Yeah, looking at everything was like, Wait a minute.
Don Mock 8:38
Rob Broadfoot 8:39
How do you spell lightning? Oh, no. And my heart just, I mean, I’m the writer on the job. Oh, no. So I look at it. And sure enough, there it was spelled lightening. L i g h t e n i n g, which is a word. Okay. Give me credit. That is a word however lightning
Don Mock 8:59
And we are talking about fake products. It’s not their product.
Rob Broadfoot 9:02
That’s right. So but it was supposed to be lightning, right? Yeah. Isn’t coming from the sky. So panic in the streets. Yeah, we freak out.
Don Mock 9:13
And there is nothing worse than that feeling, like your heart sinks. I mean, it is yeah. Oh, it is a feeling that is indescribably awful. Yeah. And so it was and it’s right there in front of the client.
Rob Broadfoot 9:26
Right. Fortunately, we bought a little bit of time and we were able to run back to the studio fix the problems all the problems. Alls well that ends well. But at the time it literally that one vowel “e.” Which is why I have that tattooed on my shoulder. No, I’m kidding.
Don Mock 9:43
no, you have the word spellcheck.
Rob Broadfoot 9:46
But it’s spelled wrong there’s opposed with what spellcheck with one L nice nice but but yeah, anyway, at the time it was it because I was a junior at the time, and it was it was literally like the world was ending my career was over. You’re gonna have to find gainful employment elsewhere, laying asphalt or something like that, man. All’s well that ends well. We had a good laugh about it. Yeah, it was fine.
Don Mock 10:08
Okay, so your able to recover, everything was good. Gonna shoot the next day and everything’s good.
Rob Broadfoot 10:12
The world didn’t end.
Don Mock 10:13
Yeah. All right. Crazy.
Rob Broadfoot 10:15
How about you?
Don Mock 10:16
My story is a little… it’s the same. I’m literally feeling the feeling right now. Just kind of thinking about I don’t know if you’re feeling it, but thinking about and reliving it. So I had a fantastic, lovely client years and years ago that had an international organization. And I got to spend many days of the year traveling around the world and documenting, doing a big global campaign for them. Right? So schlepping a photographer all over the place to do all sorts of different stuff, right? They had field offices all over Europe all over, gosh, Australia, Middle East everywhere, right? So we used to travel around the world, take pictures of all the stuff and then create all the ads, the assets, the campaigns of all these different, for all these different field offices, right? Well, and maybe people know where this is going. But one trip, we went along, you know, we’re shooting in this country, country one up for a couple days, I’m gonna go to the next place we’re shooting go to the next place, right? Every single night. Hey, you know, let’s go through the dailies and take a look at the pictures. All looks good. You know, we’re backing everything up in triplicate, you know, I mean, we’re in the digital era, obviously, right? Everything shooting digital, all that good stuff, right? Get back to the United States. I’m gonna say, you know, a couple of weeks later, right? And it’s okay, gotta get all the images got. I mean, we’re talking gigs worth of data here, you know, multiple hard drives all sorts of stuff. And it’s, uh, oh, no, we don’t have the photos. From you know, from, I think it was like, three of the countries we went to. Oh, my God, I’m having like a panic.
Rob Broadfoot 11:51
So you had to step up?
Don Mock 11:52
Just thinking about this is… wow. Yeah, so we had it. We had a couple. Yeah, we had some of this, I’m going to call it half. Half the photos are gone. For the sake of this conversation, right? And it was, oh, oh, no, you know, and then it’s, oh, we’re, well, we’re gonna use XYZ software to try to recover. We don’t know where the data went, if it’s been written over, and then the backup is corrupted. I mean, it was just
Rob Broadfoot 12:14
Now were these on memory cards, or were they were they loaded in?
Don Mock 12:18
These were shot on the camera, on cards, card reader into a laptop, laptop to two different hard drives, and everything was cloned, right.
Rob Broadfoot 12:28
And still, they were gone?
Don Mock 12:29
And so something must have happened, either. I mean, this was the early days, potentially of Time Machine or different thing, you know, and you got to remember the hard drive clicking like click, click, click, click, click, you know, that type of thing. Right. So I mean, nothing was solid state yet everything was still moving parts, right. And we’re schlepping these things all over the place. But we were doing everything in like duplicate if not triplicate, right. And so somehow, you know, a whole bunch of stuff was written over. And it was, Oh, we’re gonna try to use XYZ software to try to uncover I mean, and those places still exist, where you can send your hard drive in and sort of retract data that may or may not have been deleted, things like that. Right. So I managed to get a little bit of it. But then, you know, I had to call. So I mean, it’s, it’s it’s a team effort, obviously. Right? But it was our client. I mean, I had to call the client and just say, Hey,
Rob Broadfoot 13:14
“I don’t know what happened.”
Don Mock 13:15
Rob Broadfoot 13:15
“Hope you’re sitting down.”
Don Mock 13:17
Yeah, yeah, this is the worst conversation I’ve ever had to have with a client ever. And I don’t really know how to have this, you know, like, boom, here we go. Let’s lay it out. Right? And it was one of those shadows in person or, like, I, there’s, there’s no good way to have this conversation, right. And uh….. just that pit of despair of Oh, my God, it just let you to and you cannot recreate that because people in different countries had, there was no way to fake it.
Rob Broadfoot 13:18
Don Mock 13:19
And so the only way out was hey, we totally screwed up. You know, I mean, it’s, you know, here’s the good news. The good news for everybody freaking out listening to this is that everyone in that situation for my story was was remarkably understanding. But it was just more of what we have to redo this. You know, there’s a financial obligation now right? That you’re on the hook for so yeah, you gotta get on the plane and go back to Malaysia. You got to go here. You gotta go, you know, do all these different things. And then you probably got to go a little bit above and beyond you know, so it was a big you got to do right by the client. You got to do right for the project, you got to do right for everybody. But man, that was I would call that more than a blunder. That’s definitely one of the worst sort of scenarios that’s ever happened in my, in my career. I mean, every once in a while, you know, a typo makes it through to a print ad, you know, if you do a 300 page catalog, something’s gonna happen. something’s gonna happen. You know, every once in a while somebody approves a proof for something and it’s printed. Right? You know what I mean? Like any high you can always print another catalog. You can always do, you know, but that that is the biggest doozy for me of Wow.
Rob Broadfoot 14:54
Don Mock 14:55
Like there’s no, I’m sweating just thinking about this story right now. I’m like, really, I mean, I You don’t think about this all the time.
Rob Broadfoot 15:01
No it’s not a good feeling.
Don Mock 15:02
Yeah, that that was I mean, that’s the pit of despair. So.
Rob Broadfoot 15:07
Yeah, well, lessons learned. And for all you youngsters out there coming up in the business, it’ll happen to you. And when it does, maybe you’ll remember this podcast and again, you know what, maybe it’s not the end of the world.
Don Mock 15:20
The sun will come up the next day
Rob Broadfoot 15:22
The sun will rise you.
Don Mock 15:23
As long as you’re trying to do your best you know, and you put in protocols to try to prevent blunders from happening. You should be in a good spot.
Rob Broadfoot 15:30
The last thing I’ll leave you with, and it came to me while we were chatting about this, but there’s a great film out on speaking of blunders called Pepsi. Where’s my jet? Yes, it’s the documentary that’s out. I think it’s on Netflix.
Don Mock 15:43
It is on Netflix. It’s well, it’s like two or three episodes.
Rob Broadfoot 15:45
Yeah, and I no spoilers. But Pepsi did a promotion. Again, I don’t remember the year but Pepsi did a great promotion where they were gonna give away a jet. Yeah. And it’s sort of the story about that promotion and what happened with it.
Don Mock 15:59
Didn’t he get Pepsi points. It was like the more Pepsi you buy, you get like credit or points or whatever. And then you can use that at the store to buy different things.
Rob Broadfoot 16:06
Yeah, I mean, it was the classic fast food or whatever kind of point system redemption, sponsorship or promotion rather. That went horribly wrong.
Don Mock 16:18
Rob Broadfoot 16:18
Horribly wrong. And again, it was wow, we didn’t really think this out, but it’s a nice look at advertising and promotion, and is worth a watch.
Don Mock 16:29
Rob Broadfoot 16:29
If you haven’t seen it, go dial it up on Netflix.
Don Mock 16:32
Yeah, I’m a sucker for those types of chronology of advertising and sort of interesting advertising stories on the back end. It’s fun. That is a good one to think about.
Rob Broadfoot 16:40
All right. Thanks, everyone. Yeah, enjoyed it. You can find us online MOCKtheAgency.com on the interwebs Of course, and then also on the socials @mocktheagency. And until next time,
Don Mock 16:51
all right, play us out.