Spotlight on Content Marketing: The Blockbusters and The Box-Office Bombs

Like a game of chess, content marketing is all about strategy and risk. The right move can put you in a winning position, while a poor one can spell game over. So, what separates a queen's gambit from a fool's mate? Let's explore 20 of the greatest hits and misses in content marketing history.

Like a game of chess, content marketing is all about strategy and risk. The right move can put you in a winning position, while a poor one can spell game over. So, what separates a queen's gambit from a fool's mate? Let's explore 20 of the greatest hits and misses in content marketing history.

Content Marketing Success – A Look at the Bright Side

Get ready to step into a world where creativity meets strategy and results in some of the most successful content marketing campaigns of the decade. From utilizing endearing user-generated content to launching with an unforgettable comic series, these examples are textbook lessons of content marketing done right.

1. GoPro - Fireman Saves Kitten

Let's begin with a heart-warming triumph. In 2013, GoPro showcased user-generated content of a fireman reviving a tiny kitten using a GoPro camera. The video amassed over 45 million views on YouTube, increasing brand awareness and demonstrating the product's value in a unique, emotional way.

2. Slack - Launch Strategy

With a mission to revolutionize the way we work, Slack took a unique and humorous approach to content marketing. Their video, "So Yeah, We Tried Slack …", showcases a variety of professionals humorously recounting their 'pre-Slack' office life horrors. The video didn't just highlight Slack's functionalities; it showed the real, relatable problems that the product solves. It resonated strongly with their target audience and played a pivotal role in boosting the platform's popularity. This creative use of video content and humor is a shining example of how Slack effectively communicated its value proposition and left a lasting impression on its users.

3. Glossier - User-Generated Content

Beauty brand Glossier leverages user-generated content brilliantly. They actively encourage their customers to share their beauty routines on social media, often reposting them on their own channels. This strategy has effectively boosted Glossier's brand visibility and sales.

4. Salesforce - Dreamforce Conference

Salesforce took customer engagement to new heights with their annual Dreamforce Conference. Transforming the event into a mecca of networking, learning, and music festivals, Salesforce managed to cultivate a strong community of loyal customers. This move not only helped them increase their brand awareness but also drastically improved their sales.

5. MailChimp - Serial Podcast Sponsorship

In a strategic move, MailChimp sponsored the first season of the popular podcast "Serial" back in 2014. The sponsorship not only gave them significant exposure but also introduced them to an extensive, diverse audience. The simple phrase "MailKimp" from the podcast's intro became an Internet sensation, further boosting their brand recognition.

Content Marketing Blunders that Made History

We now embark on an exploration of some of the less fortunate moments in content marketing history. Whether it's the fiasco of an AI bot learning the wrong lessons, or missteps in email marketing, these brands faced backlash, showing that not all risks in content marketing pay off.

1. Microsoft - Tay AI Twitter Bot

Microsoft's 2016 experiment with an AI chatbot on Twitter called 'Tay' ended in disaster when the bot started posting offensive tweets after learning from user interactions. The bot was swiftly shut down, serving as a stark reminder of the potential pitfalls of AI.

2. Snapple - Real Facts Caps

Snapple's attempt to engage customers by printing "Real Facts" inside their bottle caps backfired when it was discovered that many of the facts were false or misleading, leading to a hit on the brand's credibility.
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3. Kenneth Cole - Cairo Tweet

Fashion brand Kenneth Cole made a major misstep in 2011 when they used the Cairo uprising to promote their new collection on Twitter. The company faced a serious backlash and had to issue an apology.

4. JD Wetherspoon - Quitting Social Media

UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon made headlines when they quit social media entirely in 2018, deleting their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. While the move was intended as a bold statement, it left the company without an essential communication channel and a way to engage with their customers. The company’s decision was seen as a significant misstep in their content marketing strategy, emphasizing the value and importance of social media in today's digital world.

5. Tesco's Ill-Timed Tweet

Tesco faced a serious case of unfortunate timing when they posted a tweet reading "It's sleepy time so we're off to hit the hay! See you at 8am for more #TescoTweets" - just hours after news broke of horse DNA being found in their burgers. Despite the tweet being pre-scheduled, the reference to 'hitting the hay' struck a wrong chord with the public in light of the scandal. Tesco quickly responded to criticism, stating "I'm terribly sorry. That tweet was scheduled before we knew of the current situation. We'd never intend to make light of it." The incident underscored the importance of aligning content schedules with real-time events and news to avoid potential missteps.



From high-flying victories to lessons learned the hard way, these examples encapsulate the dynamic world of content marketing. They underscore the importance of understanding your audience, the power of creativity, and the unforeseen consequences of getting it wrong. So, as you craft your next campaign, remember these tales and strive to write your brand's success story.

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