Weekly Hot Takes: August Content Wins

4 min read
August 05, 2018

weekly hot takes

Because I never get tired of talking about them, one of the topics on this week's Weekly Hot Takes is big business marketing mistakes. Also on the menu is discussing how to inject some fun into your August content calendar and whether you should participate in Internet challenges.



A Faux Pas Here...

Like most people, there's nothing I like more than watching a train wreck -- metaphorically, of course, because I don't think anyone would like an actual train wreck. 


Anyway, the point is that in this age of an increasing use of technology, brands are relying on this technology to interact with their consumer base easily and within moments. But with quick interaction, also comes the quick spread of news when that brand messes up. I don't know about anyone else, but it feels like every other week I'm reading about how one brand or another is under fire for making some kind of boneheaded decision gone viral. I was reading this article on the biggest marketing mistakes in recent years, which prompted me to highlight some of my personal favorites.


  • Papa John's -- I tend to think of this as a two-part deal, but it's funny in hindsight that part two could have been avoided if those behind the scenes had worked harder to cut ties in December. I talked about this one in a recent post.
  • Build-a-Bear -- This is also one I talked about very recently, but I did find it somewhat baffling that it wasn't expected for word to spread like wildfire that parents could buy something normally $15+ for $6 more less. As I said before, sure previous years weren't as huge, but always expect and prepare for bigger and better. Nine times out of ten, too much is better than not enough, and this was no exception.
  • Pepsi -- I looked at the whole campaign with Kendall Jenner as proof that you get out of a campaign who you put behind it. Nothing says "tone deaf" like not recognizing that no one would ever decide to drink Pepsi because of a visual of using it to build a gap between protesters and law enforcement. Especially not in an age of #BlackLivesMatter. You have to do better than that for multicultural Millennials.

Honorable Mentions!

  • Dove and H&M. Between the Dove ad with the ladies of different skin tones ad the print ad of the black boy in a t-shirt that called him the "coolest monkey in the jungle" the mistakes in both are obvious to me. But I'm also a black woman who's more likely to notice certain errors than others. One could say that the Dove ad only suffered from unfortunate editing/set up and the H&M campaign from someone not reading between the lines of what that shirt could be in the racial context of the U.S., but at the end of the day, that's the point of having diverse marketing teams where people from different walks of life can point out their perspective, rather than planning in an echo chamber. A little diversity behind the scenes could have made all the difference in avoiding the backlash both these brands faced.  


August Is Here! 

August, in my opinion, is one of the hardest months to develop content for because of the fact that there are no official holidays to help guide you towards interaction with your audience. It's a month of relying on your own creativity and some wacky/bizarre social media friendly holidays to give you a hand. So let's take a look at a few you can possibly fit into your content calendar.


First, there are some monthly things you can recognize:

  • Family Fun Month
  • Romance Awareness Month
  • Water Quality Month
  • National Picnic Month

Looking for something more weekly? Try these one:

  • Week One -- National Simplify Your Life Week
  • Week Two -- National Smile Week
  • Week Three -- Frienship Week
  • Week Four -- Be Kind to Humankind Week

And last but not least, some daily holidays to recognize and have fun with:

  • August 5th -- Frienship Day
  • August 9th -- Book Lover's Day
  • August 13th -- Left Hander's Day
  • August 16th -- National Tell a Joke Day
  • August 18th -- Bad Poetry Day
  • August 26th -- Women's Equality Day
  • August 27th -- Global Forgiveness Day
  • August 31st -- National Eat Outside Day

Feel inspired yet? Check out the whole list of August holidays and find something that fits your brand.

Internet Challenges
Aren't Internet Challenges fun? People get out their cameras and they start filiming as soon as one of these things take off. Take Fall of 2016 into account when even Hillary Clinton, candidate for President of the United States shot a video of her particpation in the Mannequin Challenge that was popular that year. Or, consider how many celebrities participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge and helped to bring awareness to ALS. 


Imagine the potential exposure for your brand that you could have by attaching itself to one of these viral challenges. You just have to, like with all marketing choices, be careful about what you pick. The wrong challenge (like say, #InMyFeelings and it's recent news coverage about the dangerous stunts people are pulling) can catch attention for the wrong reasons. 


So how do you know when an Internet challenge is one for your business? Consider its origins and if it lines up with the brand story that you've built for your company or if your audience would just think that you were trying too hard. Also consider if it could have any philantrophic ties and if that's something you'd like to attach to your company. Most important is to stick to your brand story. Internet challenges are fleeting, but the right one could help your brand stay in your consumer's minds for a long time.




What did you notice or have thoughts on this week? Comment below.


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