Global Marketing

A Social Media Marketing Fail

The benefits of social media marketing can also be their downfalls. Social media marketing targets the masses, instantly. If a campaign goes wrong, if the message is not perceived well, it spreads to the masses very quickly. Because social media has so many outlets, it's really hard to remove a social media fail from the vast inter-web.

The social media market fail I want to examine is a brand that typically always hits the mark. They represent women in such a positive light: celebrating women looking natural, women in their own skin…you get the idea here. The brand is Dove.

Dove has a marketing campaign known as “Real Beauty”. The whole idea of this campaign is featuring “real women of different ages, sizes and ethnicities, hair color type, or style” ( It's a positive message embracing women from different walks of life.

Then one day, they published to Facebook a horrifyingly racist Real Beauty campaign post.

What this ad highlights is a “black woman removing her top to reveal a smiling white woman underneath” (businessinsider). This three-second Facebook video can be interpreted in numerous ways, all of which are negative to the Dove brand.

Not only is this ad tone-deaf, but it goes against the very message the Real Beauty campaign has spent years trying to create.

This is the power of social media. One wrong move and a brand's image is tainted. Within a day this ad was removed by Dove and a statement was issued:

While Dove's point of view of the ad was that the “video was intended to convey that Dove body wash was for every woman, as well as celebrate diversity” it completely missed the mark and that was not the received by any of their customers of multiple ethic backgrounds (

This example was highlighted to illustrate how a brand loved and respected by millions of women can lose their customer loyalty in an instant. Dove is a brand I personally respect, but their tone deaf ad absolutely made me look at their brand differently. Social media posts need to be reviewed by a diverse audience before releasing to the vastness of the inter-web. Nothing is erasable and Dove has certainly paid the price. This article should be used as an example of what not to do. Global social media marketing is a powerful tool, which can both be positive, and clearly negative.