The internet's greatest marketing bloopers

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Learning from mistakes; blooper 1

Who doesn't love a TV blooper? They are fun to watch -- flubbed pronunciation, forgotten lines, double entendres. You don't even need to be a mean person to enjoy them because bloopers are mistakes, but not deadly ones.

In an environment as dynamic and ever changing as digital, it's natural that even the smartest in the digerati make bloopers in judgment or execution. Many such online marketing bloopers are the result of the changing reality brought on by the advent of digital, and as such are quite understandable. But that doesn't mean we can't learn from them.

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If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results, then perhaps this article can help us avoid straightjackets by pointing out a few digital bloopers and what we should take away from them.

Don't assume you can isolate messages
The web provides enormous opportunities to segment and tailor creative messages. But it also breaks down demographic, geographic, and other boundaries. Segmentation and tailoring does not prevent some segments from hearing and seeing what you are saying to others.

Remember this ad from Absolut, which depicted the pre-1848 Mexican and U.S. borders? Run only in Mexico, the ad was designed to be a funny nod to Mexican pride. The brand surely felt it had found a powerful visual to help la gente identify with the brand. Unfortunately, right-wing American bloggers got hold of the ad, and within hours were lined up to ban Absolut, call it reverse racist, and on and on. Former CNN personality Lou Dobbs switched to Grey Goose over it.

Now, in large part due to income disparities and population, Americans drink more Absolut than Mexicans. So the company had to scramble to apologize to Americans who might have been offended. Here's what the brand issued:

"This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues. Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal." -- Paula Eriksson, VP of corporate communications, V&S Absolut Spirits

But from a digital perspective, the key takeaway is that you need to assume that everyone can see everything.