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The 2012 Marketing Naughty & Nice List

Marketing is a creative field so it’s full of epic successes… and failures. There are times when you can see a problem coming and times when you’re so far along you can’t avoid one.. And then there are the players who have a crystal ball that can move the industry forward, while others hold us back like a ball and chain.

So in the spirit of the holidays, I’ve put together a list of the marketing players who deserve a lump of coal, as well as ones that should get everything they asked for this year.

Coca-Cola – Nice

Coca-Cola’s powerhouse marketing can open up people’s eyes to new ideas, even if the soft drink company wasn’t the first to do it. So when Coke revamped its corporate website with a focus on content and storytelling, people took notice. Coca-Cola Journey is forward thinking and sustainable corporate storytelling. (Compare that to the effective, but short-lived Pepsi Refresh Everything social media campaign, or its current attempt, Pulse.) They might as well have put “Enjoy, content marketing” right at the top of the page.

USPS – Naughty

I don’t check my mailbox everyday anymore. Primarily, it’s because I do everything important online. Another reason is that everytime I do check it, I get so much junk mail that I’m not even sure I would see the important stuff. So when the United States Postal Service decided to encourage even more junk mail this year in order to find another source of revenue, you had to wonder who they could even sell it to. All I know is, as soon as it’s available in Cleveland, I’m signing up for this.

Facebook – Nice

Users may not love them, but Facebook’s successful launch into mobile advertising was a big leap forward for the social network. Even better, the Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories that show up in users’ news feeds on mobile devices are massively effective. It’s become one my company’s primary sources of new leads. And clients I’ve worked with are seeing a significant increase in the amount of new Likes coming from mobile devices when using these ads. For community building and lead generation, these ads are great, even if you get a few complaints now and then while the social network refines its display algorithm.

Belvedere Vodka – Naughty

Sometimes, you have to sit back and wonder if something so obviously offensive wasn’t a ploy to get attention. (There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?) That’s really the only way to explain how an ad that looks a little too pro-rape gets posted on Facebook. Well, Belvedere Vodka, congratulations. We’re still talking about you (and yes, people are still offended).

Redbull – Nice

Redbull is no stranger to the world of branded entertainment. The company is already more of a media company than an energy drink maker. But no other awe-inspiring stunt sponsored and promoted by Redbull comes close to the Stratos project. The whole world was watching (and seeing a Redbull logo) when Felix Baumgartner leaped from “the edge of space.” Stratos was years in the making and took countless man hours to achieve, but if this inspires other great feats of branded entertainment, then it was all worth it.

European Commision – Naughty

Encouraging girls to take up a career in science? Great. Encouraging them to do it by making it look like they’ll just be creating lipstick and nail polish (Yay! Chemistry!)? Not so great. To quote the top YouTube commenter: “What if they made a counterpart to this video? ‘Science- it’s a guy thing!’ Just impressive camera shots of football and beer…” Enough said.

HubSpot – Nice

“Create marketing people love.” Sounds great, HubSpot, but how do you do it? By making marketing personal. HubSpot rolled out its third generation software platform in August and suddenly it was being compared to marketing automation platforms like Marketo and Eloqua. The truth is, HubSpot is already waaaaayyyyy past marketing automation. The software enables businesses large and small to create personalized, dynamic content so that they can market to their prospects like Amazon.com markets to you.

KitchenAid – Naughty

There have been some pretty epic Twitter fails. Most are just immature. But KitchenAid’s accidental tweet about Barack Obama’s late-grandmother was at once immature, classless and offensive. That anyone would put something like that on their personal Twitter is one thing. But to have a member of your social media team post an irresponsible Tweets like that one? Well, that just means someone gave the keys to the kingdom to the village idiot. And it’s not the village idiot’s fault.

I’m sure there are more companies that should be on the Naughty or Nice list. Leave your picks in the comments below.  

USPS photo credit: kevin dooley