Insight: Crucial reasons behind failed marketing campaigns in the current era

By Zion Rufus

In the year 2023, the landscape of public relations and marketing has undergone a significant shift from the once-famous belief that “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Nowadays, brands are urged to approach their ad campaigns and creative initiatives with caution. Numerous brands have found themselves facing scrutiny and criticism for campaigns that were expected to be successful and groundbreaking.

Crafting a triumphant marketing campaign is a multifaceted process that demands ingenuity, experimentation, and meticulous evaluation.

Even globally renowned brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dove have encountered their fair share of challenges while navigating the marketing landscape, resulting in historic blunders. More recently, Easter ad campaigns from Sterling Bank and Peak Milk have also been subject to scrutiny.

This leads us to the critical question: What factors contribute to the failure of campaigns that initially seemed well-thought-out and promising?

In an interview with MARKETING EDGE, Lanre Basamta, a marketing communications professional, sheds light on five major reasons behind the downfall of marketing campaigns.

Compulsive Need to Align with Trends

One of the primary reasons brands stumble is their obsession with trendjacking. Many brands feel compelled to connect with social media trends and align their campaigns with popular cultural movements. While this may help them ride the wave of current trends, it can often lead to misguided and inappropriate communication that backfires, resulting in a loss of reputation and consumer trust.

Basamta explained, “Brands try to jump on social media trends to align with culture, aiming to leverage the mindshare of the public. However, the more they try to align with ever-changing trends, the more they end up making mistakes.”

Absence of Thorough Evaluation Processes

Developing an efficient marketing campaign necessitates a robust approval process, encompassing evaluation, research, and collaboration among stakeholders. In today’s fast-paced advertising landscape, the sheer volume of communication channels leaves little time for in-depth validation and research. Consequently, the quality and standard of campaigns may suffer, leading to misalignment with the target audience.

“In the current dynamic advertising environment, everything you put out is seen as an advert, and organizations send communications out every day. This continuous flow doesn’t allow them enough time to validate or research, leading to occasional failures,” Basamta remarked.

Advertising Has Changed

The transformation of advertising over the years has significantly increased the likelihood of errors. In the digital and social media age, audiences are more empowered, making up their minds swiftly and dictating the direction of communication. Brands need to be proactive in seeking influential advocates to support their campaigns, ensuring that their message is well-received and garners positive attention.

Execution Matters

While a brilliant idea serves as the foundation of a marketing campaign, execution plays a vital role in its success. A small difference in execution can turn an exceptional idea into a flop. Brands must strive to connect genuinely with their audiences, speaking to their thoughts and desires, to ensure that the message resonates effectively.

Brand Disconnect

For many large brands, marketing communications are developed in the confines of boardrooms and agencies. This disconnection from the market can lead to campaigns that fail to resonate with consumers. In the past, advertisements created in open markets resonated with consumers because they mirrored their sentiments.

Today, the absence of in-depth research and genuine understanding of consumer needs results in a disconnect between brands and their audience. Brands must prioritize authenticity, diligent evaluation, and audience connection to increase the chances of successful marketing campaigns.


In his final submission, Basamta emphasized that mistakes are inevitable, both for individuals and brands. However, the key lies in reducing such failures and learning from them.

With a strategic approach and a focus on authenticity, brands can navigate the challenges of marketing and achieve success in their campaigns; and as the marketing landscape continues to evolve, brands must adapt, learn from their mistakes, and develop campaigns that genuinely connect with their audience.



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