Ever since blogs and Social Media platforms became available complimented by the rise and high penetration rate of smartphone devices, customer voice became more powerful than ever regardless of where they are on the map. Global & local brands have been and still trying to cope by altering their branding & marketing strategies to incorporate social media, digital transformation, and Customer Experience strategies. However, most of them in an effort to deliver on those strategies have failed by promoting campaign ads that are provocative and/or socially insensitive.

For the past few years to date, we’ve been witnessing numerous global brands’ ads being totally out of context and off brand, such as PRADA, Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner, Dove, and NIVEA. While locally we’ve seen the same with Riyadh Bank, Danube, Jarir Bookstore, Panda, Zain, and many more.

Some trying to take advantage of a certain occasion while the others trying to ride on a certain hot topic.

Brands need to understand that messaging that gets political, social, religious and/or economical without contextualizing to shift or fit into the larger brand story is likely to be rejected.

Aimee Woodall, founder and president of The Black Sheep Agency once said – and I quote ” The shift is in how they approach these campaigns — looking to make a social good investment instead of a sales case for broadcasting something. That’s why their message doesn’t click — it’s not a real message. It’s just an ad, and we’re at a time where just making an ad doesn’t cut it. You have to get real”.

We live in a time where race, gender, age, religion, stereotypes, and sexual orientation remain highly sensitive topics. So what can brands do to generate buzz while remaining true to their brand?

by Bandar H. Al-Shamrani on November 27, 2017


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