Aussie Brand Social Media Fails And Triumphs

  • By Andy Fox

I believe, the one ‘rule of thumb’ that brands should consider before launching their campaigns or engaging with their audience in Social Media is - ‘Listen, Assess and Think before you Ink’!

Failing to do so could result in a complete ‘social-media-disaster’ with a bad ‘rep’ for the brand; whereas those with keen ears and eyes can craft successful engagement tactics, which can positively amplify a brand’s identity and attract loyal customers.

According to Sensis report 2016, 87% of Australians access the internet daily, out of which 69% of are on social media; and the most favourite being Facebook, which is used by 95% of the users.

The report also estimates that 79% of large brands in Australia have their presence in Social Media as compared to 48% for SMBs.
Today we look into some of the epic failures and successes of Australian brands, which have chosen Social Media as their Marketing platform.  

Let’s start with a few ‘slip ups’ the following ‘household name’ brands had to endure in Social Media:

1.  Woolworths’ Anzac Day Mess-up

Anzac Day, as we know is the National Day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand for those soldiers who served and died in wars, other conflicts and peace-keeping operations. This solemn day is marked to honour these brave soldiers for their sacrifice to the country and the people. 

Woolies (Woolworths) with all the best intentions went ahead and tried to cash in on this auspicious day, only to face a severe backlash. The brand initiated a campaign “Fresh in our Memories” with pictures of Anzac soldiers and slapped their slogans and logos across the portraits:


The marketing stunt was not received well by customers. The brand was heavily criticised for taking advantage of the Anzac Soldiers to promote their name. They were perceived to be ‘insensitive’ and showing a ‘lack of respect’ to the heroes who had sacrificed their lives for the country’s freedom.null

The backlashes got even uglier when users made their own memes to mock the supermarket chain:


Woolies paid a huge price to learn this lesson, which clearly indicates not to tinker with people’s deep-rooted and valued feelings, especially when the issue calls for a solemn and respectful action. Though their intentions were good, it was a huge lack of assessment and copywriting blunder by the brand, which could have been avoided by changing or dropping the slogan and simply putting a small and discreet logo of the brand at one corner.

2. ALDI Australia’s ‘Fill in the blank’ Campaign

Here we have yet another Supermarket brand unable to read the minds and perspectives of the audiences; went forward with a flawed concept for a social media campaign. 

The brand took to Twitter wanting to engage with the audience by encouraging them to share their experience with ALDI. They nudged the readers to mention a product that made them an ‘ALDI lover’ with a caption ‘Fill in the blank!’


The responses were nothing what the brand expected. They were riddled with vague sexual connotations and grotesque humour.


The campaign was a disaster because ALDI couldn’t anticipate the varied responses they would get when asking people to ‘fill in the blanks’. Before embarking on such a bold campaign, ALDI should have known better as to what kind of user personas they were dealing with.

For brands to launch Social Media campaigns and completely trust the audience without due research and testing, can turn out to be futile and could easily backfire their marketing objectives.

Now let’s explore a couple of success stories:

3.  Mayver’s Food

With over 14,000 likes on Facebook and 46K followers on Instagram, Mayver’s is a successful food brand delighting its customers and audiences in Social Media. 

The brand specialises in making natural and healthy super spreads packed in attractive jars. An effective tactic the brand uses is to not just display its product but actually show the product in use. It captures the visitor’s eye by showing other food creations made with their spreads, along with providing links and short videos to the recipes.


Mayver’s weekly ‘Travelling Happiness Jar’ Competition is another neat trick which the brand launched to engage more fans. The fans post pictures of their Mayver’s spread as they are indulging in their food creation, or when outdoors hiking, or connecting with nature via a hashtag #travellinghappinessjar. 

The ones winning the photo competition are given some freebies like a unique recipe or food guide, etc., while the brand gets authentic user generated pictures for its branding.


Another trick up their sleeve is to pose A or B type questions to positively engage the audience and create a buzz. Such questions generate an irresistible urge to get involved and state one’s opinion.

In the above example, the fans pour responses in stating their favourite Mayver’s spread. The post had garnered 260 likes and 188 comments.

4.  Coles’ Clever Answer – Saved the Day!

What would you do if you found a caterpillar in the capsicum you just bought from the store? While you’re thinking about your answer, here’s a story of a customer who found just that. 

Yes, Matthew Wilson after buying capsicum from the Coles Supermarket took them home, only to discover there were caterpillars wriggling inside one of them. 

Frustrated with the findings he had to drop the idea of making chicken-capsicum stir-fry for dinner; and instead took the matter to the Coles Facebook page, lamenting the following story:

Upon seeing the story of an unsatisfied customer, Coles immediately gave a response. And no the response wasn’t stacked with apologies and concerns on the inconvenience; instead it was the most wittiest and human response, that won the hearts of the customers and many audiences who encountered the post.


This is a clear example of a brand that knows its customers well and can tap into their perspectives to cleverly flip a seemingly disastrous situation to a win-win one, where the brand actually accentuates its personality and authority.

For brands to succeed in social media a thorough knowledge of your audiences’ personas, tried and tested tactics of social engagement and a drive to serve better, will go a long way.

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Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

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