Funeral homes, crematoriums, and well anything to do with death can be particularly hard to advertise. So when advertising your local family run crematorium, you’d want your audience to feel that you’re thoughtful and respectful... right? WRONG!
St Louis Cremation embarked on a not so brilliant marketing campaign earlier this month that left the readers of Town and Style St Louis Magazine slightly angry and utterly confused. The chain of unsettling adverts displayed images of young children with strange phrases in white bold text – in all honesty they didn’t look legitimate and looked more like a meme that can be seen throughout social media.
The first creepy advert featured an innocent girl with a flower on her head; the girl was later revealed to be the daughter of the St Louis Cremation owner, Oliver King. The innocent image was alongside equally creepy text reading “Don’t let the flower fool you. She’ll be a teenager soon.” We are not entirely sure what Mr King was trying to insinuate here but we can understand why people complained. Other adverts included an image of a young red haired toddler with text reading “I didn’t believe it either. Ask Grandma if you want” and two young girls walking to school with more confusing text “One day we’ll tell people, it was up hill both ways.”
Mr King has assured the readers that there was no disturbing message hidden behind these bizarre ads after he received complaints asking “Are you going to kill her?” or “Is she going to kill someone?” He explained that adverts are boring, especially when trying to advertise a cremation service; he wanted people to stop and see what the picture was and then register the company name. Well he certainly had people contact him, but maybe not for the services! The campaign has now been dropped and St Louis Cremation issued an apology on Facebook.
Don’t worry; they’re not the only company to have a marketing blunder...
Burger King launched a slightly malicious campaign back in 2014 asking fans to ‘unfriend’ 10 Facebook friends to receive a 10% discount...The Whopper Sacrifice with a tag line of “You like your friends, but you love the Whopper” wasn’t long lived as Facebook requested that Burger King cancel the campaign as it was ‘serious damage’ to the business model. Nearly 234,000 sad friends were ‘unfriended’, we just hope that the whopper and fries were worth it?
American giant superstore, Walmart listed a category for Halloween costumes under ‘Fat Girl Costumes.’ The reaction amongst the public was obviously not what Walmart were expecting. However, it’s not sure whether this blunder was an accident and whether the coders used the ‘Fat Girl Costumes’ as a placeholder before the page went live and forgot to change it before the publish button was hit!
UK supermarket, ASDA also experienced turmoil in the press for the name of a Halloween costume. The ‘Mental Patient Costume’ was asked to be removed after hundreds of complaints expressing that it was offensive to people with mental health issues... Which we think is completely fair enough.
As marketeers, we can tell you that marketing does result in a positive increase in sales and can have beneficial attributes for your business, but of course it has to be right! If you do have any marketing or PR needs please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01242 250692 or drop us a line and we’d be more than happy to help; we can’t let you or your business have a marketing blunder now can we?