The world of corporate blunders and oversights often produces some interesting commentary and vigorous head shaking.
However, the manner in which these businesses decide to handle these occurrences can sometimes be more entertaining than the mishap itself.
The corporate apology ad is used to demonstrate remorse in a creative manner and can have mixed results. Some companies manage to dig a deeper grave for themselves, others are able to move past the scandal and a few of them produce campaigns that rival or outdo their regular advertisements.
Drab newspaper ads were once the main channel for these apologies and they leaned toward a simple and straightforward acknowledgement of their mistake and a plea to move past the event.
Today there is a lot more expectation surrounding the apology ad and is often done with video. A recent ad that was actually created to apologize to another brand is the Arby’s ad for Pepsi.
A failure to fulfill an agreement by Arby’s was used to produce a public apology to Pepsi in the form of a television ad. When Arby’s realized that they had forgotten to fulfill a contractual obligation to feature Pepsi in a minimum of two ads in the 2014 year, they put out an ad that revolves around the beverage and complements their current minimalist-style advertising approach.
The result of the scrambled attempt to make amends generated a popular advertisement that fell in line with their unconventional marketing tactics. Their advertising efforts for the 2014-year have produced some successful material including a 13-hour television commercial, which broke the world’s record.
Conventional wisdom discourages the use of humor when attempting to say “I’m sorry,” and going against this line of thinking can be exceptionally harmful to a company’s brand and reputation if the ad is taken as offensive. The humor in the Arby’s ad, however, added to its appeal.
While other humorous corporate ads would have suffered a massive backlash for making light of their mistakes Arby’s ad worked for several reasons:
– Their offense did not involve death, injury, crude stereotypes, ignorance of beaver culture (our mascot Bernie thought this was important), or any other sever slip-ups.
– The ad is in harmony with their brand and is attempting to make up for the oversight.
– Arby’s publicly admits fault with a playful but contrite approach.
This Arby’s advertisement pulls off an interesting mix of “we’re very sorry,” and “you can’t stay mad when you’re smiling.”