13 Cringy influencer marketing fails

by | Feb 1, 2024 | Marketing Tips

Influencer marketing fails. 😐

That’s a phrase that sends shivers down the spine of every savvy influencer marketing manager! 🙀 

Did you know that despite its rising popularity, about 25% of influencer campaigns don’t yield the expected results?

That’s a sizable chunk of missed opportunities knocking at your door! 😲

From mismatched brand-influencer pairings to campaigns that flop spectacularly, the pitfalls are many and merciless.

👉 But fear not, at Click Analytic, we believe every influencer marketing fail is just a stepping stone to success. 

Stay glued as we unravel the secrets to flipping influencer marketing fails into fabulous wins! 🚀🔍

13 Influencer marketing fails to laugh and cry about

Ready for some laughter and some tears? 😏

We’re diving into the 13 worst influencer marketing fails

(Yes, 13 is unlucky, just like these unlucky influencer marketing campaigns!)

Don’t worry if you’re a startup looking at influencer marketing or an old hand. We’ll share some insights into avoiding these epic influencer marketing blunders.

Let’s roll. 👇

Marketing fail 1: Pepsi and Kendall Jenner

Starting our list of epic influencer marketing fails, we’re talking about a storm in a soda can! 🌪️ 

Remember this cringy Pepsi campaign featuring Kendall Jenner? 👇

It’s a textbook case of influencer marketing gone awry. 🚫 

The ad showcased Jenner, a mega influencer, turning a tense protest into a peace parade by handing a can of Pepsi to a police officer. 

Sounds simple, right? 

Well, not quite. 🤔

📉 The backlash was immediate and fierce

Critics slammed the ad for oversimplifying and trivialising the complex and sensitive nature of social justice movements. 

Pepsi’s attempt to tap into the zeitgeist of political activism backfired spectacularly.

The result?

👉 Pepsi pulled the ad just 24 hours after its release. 

And here’s a jaw-dropping fact: PepsiCo’s shares dropped by 0.12% the day after the ad was released, reflecting the immediate impact of the campaign’s failure. 💥

📚 So, what’s the takeaway from this fizzled-out campaign? 

When it comes to influencer marketing, it’s crucial to tread carefully around sensitive social issues

Exploiting them for a marketing stunt can harm your campaign and damage your brand’s reputation in the long run. 🛑

How to calculate the engagement rate on Instagram.

Marketing fail 2: Adidas and Naomi Campbell

Speeding into our next influencer marketing fail, we have the Adidas campaign featuring the iconic Naomi Campbell. 🏃‍♀️💨 

But this time, the runway legend stumbled, not on the catwalk, but on Instagram. 📱✨

In what can only be described as an ‘oops’ moment, Campbell copy-pasted Adidas’s email instruction into her Instagram caption. 

Influencer marketing fails.

Yes, you read that right – email instructions, hashtags, and all! 😱

The result? 

An Instagram post that screamed ‘disingenuous’ and ‘lazy.’ 

This blunder gave the world a rare peek behind the curtain of influencer marketing, revealing the not-so-glamorous side of what should have been a seamlessly polished campaign. 👎 

The lesson here is as clear as a brand-new pair of Adidas sneakers. When it comes to influencer collaborations, creativity should be the co-pilot, not an afterthought. 🛠️

Not convinced?

Here’s a statistic to chew on: 92% of consumers trust an influencer more when their social media post seems genuine. 

Campbell’s gaffe is a classic example of why. 📉

The key takeaway? 

👉 Grant your influencers the creative freedom to craft their promotions. 

Use this free influencer marketing brief template to help them stay within your lines.

It’s about blending their unique voice with your brand message to create an authentic and engaging narrative.

Marketing fail 3: Snickers and Katie Price

Get ready for a twist that’s nuttier than a Snickers bar! 🍫🌪️ 

We’re talking about that time when Snickers partnered with Katie Price. 

In this case, Katie Price is a glamour model known more for her fashion sense than her political acumen. 

Suddenly, Price’s Twitter feed took an unexpected turn into the realm of politics, leaving her followers more than just a little bewildered. 🤔💬

Katie price jordan's twitter page.

The twist?

It was all part of a Snickers campaign. 

But here’s where the candy crumbled: 

The campaign faced a heap of scrutiny for not being transparent that it was, in fact, a sponsored gig. 

Followers were left scratching their heads, wondering why Price was suddenly tweeting about economics and Eurozone debt crises. 🤷‍♂️💼

🚨 This lack of clarity led to a marketing mishap that could have been easily avoided. 

In fact, 85% of consumers say they’re more likely to support a brand that is transparent on social media. 

Katie Price’s sudden switcheroo is a prime example of what happens when transparency is left on the back burner. 📉

🔍 The lesson here is crystal clear: Transparency isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have

Ensure your audience knows when content is sponsored. 

It builds trust and authenticity. 👍

Marketing fail 4: EA and Benjamin Burnley

Buckle up for a ride into the gaming galaxy where not all stars align! 

Enter the curious case of EA (Electronic Arts) and Benjamin Burnley, the lead singer of the rock band Breaking Benjamin. 🎮🔨 

What happened?

EA enlists Burnley to promote their much-anticipated game, Star Wars Battlefront. 

Sounds like a smart move.

But instead of singing praises, Burnley did what his band’s name suggests – he literally broke the game’s disc! 🤯🎸

Posting a photo of the shattered disc on social media, Burnley expressed his dissatisfaction with the game in no uncertain terms. 

That’s right, the influencer EA chose to spotlight their product ended up publicly blasting it into a galaxy far, far away. 🌌💥

What can we learn from this influencer marketing fail?

📢 Ensure your influencer’s values and interests genuinely align with your product. 

It’s a crucial step that EA seemingly skipped. 

And here’s a stat that drives this point home: 70% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product if the promotion seems honest and authentic to the influencer’s usual content.

It’s not just about getting any influencer; it’s about getting the right influencer. 

Choosing someone who resonates with and believes in your product is critical to a successful campaign.

That’s how you avoid those common influencer marketing challenges.

💡 Pro tip: Not sure how to find influencers? Use an influencer marketing platform.

Click Analytic can help streamline influencer marketing.

Marketing fail 5: Huawei and Sarah Elshamy

Next, let’s zoom in on a snapshot of a marketing misfire involving tech giant Huawei and actress Sarah Elshamy. 

In what was meant to be a picture-perfect campaign, Huawei implied that their smartphone was behind some stunningly professional photos. 

The catch? 

Behind-the-scenes images revealed a different story – the photos were actually taken with a DSLR camera, not a Huawei phone! 🤳🚫

A man and a woman are filming a scene in a room.

This revelation snapped the credibility of the ad. 

It led to accusations of misleading advertising

Talk about a photo op gone wrong! 

This blunder highlights a fundamental rule in marketing: honesty is the only policy. 📉

Huawei’s campaign, while visually appealing, missed the mark by not being upfront about the true capabilities of its product. 📚

👉 The lesson from this pixelated predicament? 

Always be honest about your product’s strengths and capabilities in your advertisements. It’s about showcasing the real magic your product can perform, not an illusion.

Marketing fail 6: Snap Spectacles and Luka Sabbat

Let’s shift our gaze to another influencer marketing campaign that didn’t quite see the success it envisioned.

This time, we’re looking at the promotion of Snap Spectacles by fashion influencer Luka Sabbat.

A picture of a man with dreadlocks on his instagram.

Known for his trendsetting style and strong social media presence, Sabbat seemed like the perfect match to bring Snap’s innovative eyewear into the limelight.

But, as it turned out, not all that glitters is gold. 🚫✨

The campaign aimed to blend fashion with technology, showcasing Snap Spectacles as the next big thing in wearable tech.

However, it didn’t resonate with the audience as expected.

Despite its unique concept, the product was seen as a novelty rather than a must-have accessory.

This perception challenge was compounded by the fact that Sabbat’s promotion didn’t manage to shift the public’s view of the product from a cool gadget to an essential fashion item. 📉

While Sabbat’s involvement did bring a sense of style to the campaign, it wasn’t enough to overcome the product’s inherent challenges and consumer perceptions. 📚

The lesson here?

👉 A successful marketing campaign requires more than just a popular face.

It needs a product that resonates with the audience’s needs and lifestyle.

Marketing fail 7: Tower Jewellers and Terrie McEvoy

Still here for some cringy influencer marketing fails?

Good. 😈

It’s time to shine a light on a gem of a fail. 

Meet Tower Jewellers and Terrie McEvoy. 💍💫 

This epic influencer fail isn’t about the glitter of jewellery but rather a tarnished tale of a giveaway gone wrong. 

McEvoy, a well-known influencer, was accused of rigging a giveaway by awarding the prizes to her friends. Talk about a marketing misstep! 💔🤦‍♀️

Two instagram pictures of a woman with a teddy bear.

This act of dishonesty didn’t just dim the sparkle of the campaign; it eroded trust in both the influencer and the brand. 

Remember, trust is like a precious diamond – hard to find and even harder to keep

And here’s a statistic that reflects this reality: 81% of consumers say that trust in a brand is a deciding factor in their purchase decisions. 📉🔍

What can we learn from this fiasco? 

Honesty and integrity are the crowning jewels in promotional activities. 

Brands and influencers alike must maintain transparency and fairness in all aspects of marketing. After all, a giveaway should be a celebration, not a controversy!

👉 It’s all about building campaigns as authentic as they are alluring, ensuring that your brand’s reputation remains as flawless as a well-cut diamond. 💎✨

Marketing fail 8: Centra Tech and Floyd Mayweather

Step into the ring with one of the more controversial knockouts in influencer marketing history – the bout between Floyd Mayweather and Centra Tech. 🥊💻 

In this corner, we have Mayweather, a heavyweight champion of the boxing world. 

He stepped into the tech arena to promote Centra Tech. 

But this match had an unexpected twist:

Centra Tech turned out to be a fraudulent company. 

Talk about a marketing misfire! 🚨👎

This celebrity endorsement quickly went from a power punch to a legal uppercut. It led to significant legal repercussions for the famed boxer. 

The tale of Centra Tech is a cautionary one, underscoring the vital importance of vetting companies thoroughly before entering the endorsement ring. 📚🕵️‍♂️

Let’s talk scary numbers. 👻

A survey revealed that 65% of consumers lose trust in a brand due to association with a disreputable or fraudulent company. 

Mayweather’s tangle with Centra Tech is a stark reminder of how quickly trust can be lost when due diligence is skipped. 📉

The lesson? 🔍 

Always, always do your homework before endorsing a company or hiring an influencer.

How to get endorsements.

Marketing fail 9: Vintage Band Tees and Kendall and Kylie Jenner

Now, let’s tune into a marketing misstep that hit a sour note. 👕🎵 

This is the story about the Vintage Band Tees saga starring Kendall and Kylie Jenner. 

The Jenner sisters released a line of t-shirts with their faces superimposed over legendary musicians like Tupac, Biggie, and Ozzy Osbourne. 

Sounds edgy, right? 

Wrong! 🚫🎤

The fashion faux pas struck a chord of discontent, leading to public backlash for what was seen as disrespecting the legacies of these iconic artists.

his campaign turned from a walk down memory lane into a march of insensitivity, highlighting the importance of understanding and respecting cultural and historical significance in marketing. 📉

🔍 Consider this: 

A study shows that 71% of consumers prefer buying from brands that align with their values. 

The Jenner sisters’ t-shirt turmoil is a prime example of failing to align a product with their audience’s cultural and ethical values. 🤦‍♀️

👉 The lesson from this fashion fiasco? 

Always be mindful of cultural sensitivity and the legacy of others.

Did you know?.

Marketing fail 10: Diclegis and Kim Kardashian

Navigating the tricky waters of pharmaceutical marketing, we encounter the Diclegis campaign featuring none other than Kim Kardashian. 💊

Even working with mega influencers like the Queen of Instagram, Kim Kardashian, can lead to a marketing fail.

Kim Kardashian took to social media to promote Diclegis, a drug for morning sickness. 

However, she omitted a crucial detail – the side effects of the drug. 🚫💬

While sleek and influential, the post missed a critical element of pharmaceutical advertising: transparency about potential risks. 

This oversight caught the eye of the FDA, leading to an intervention for not adhering to medical advertising regulations. 📉🏥

Here’s a pill of truth: a survey found that 73% of consumers want transparency from brands on social media. 

👉 The lesson here? 

When promoting products, particularly in sensitive industries like healthcare, it’s imperative to include all necessary information, including risks and side effects. 

Compliance with regulatory guidelines is a non-negotiable part of responsible marketing.

Brands that work with micro-influencers. Did you know?.

Marketing fail 11: Vimal and Ajay Devgan

We’re nearing the end of our list of influencer marketing fails. 👇

Next up, stepping into a controversial spotlight, we have the Vimal campaign featuring Bollywood star Ajay Devgan. 

Devgan, known for his impactful roles, took on the part of endorsing a pan masala brand – Vimal. 

However, this role had an unexpected plot twist.

The brand later became linked to health issues, stirring up a storm of public backlash. 🚫👀

The backlash wasn’t just a matter of tarnished reputation; it translated into declining sales

This scenario is a classic example of the consequences when product endorsements overlook potential health implications. 📉

Here’s a sobering statistic: 

59% of consumers are likely to stop buying a brand if they feel it is unethical. 

Devgan’s endorsement of Vimal is a testament to this, showcasing how a brand’s association with health risks can lead to consumer trust and business loss. 📚

👉 The lesson from this saga? 

Always consider the health implications of the products you’re endorsing. 

It’s not just about the immediate impact of an endorsement; it’s about the long-term health and ethical implications.

Marketing fail 12: Fair and Handsome and Shahrukh Khan

Now, let’s turn the spotlight on a campaign that sparked more than just consumer interest – the Fair and Handsome endorsement by Bollywood megastar Shahrukh Khan. 🌟🧴 

In a move that stirred social debate, Khan became the face of a skin-lightening product. 

The result?

It ignited widespread controversy over the sensitive issue of colourism. 🚫🎭

This endorsement raised not only eyebrows but also accusations of perpetuating harmful stereotypes and insecurities associated with skin colour. 

The backlash was a stark reminder of the deep societal impacts that product messaging can have. 📉

Consider this: A survey found that 64% of consumers worldwide now buy or boycott a brand solely because of its position on a social or political issue

Khan’s endorsement of Fair and Handsome brought this reality to the forefront, highlighting how celebrity endorsements can sometimes clash with evolving social consciousness. 📚

The key lesson here? 

👉 Brands and influencers must be aware of the broader social impact of the products and messages they promote. 

Marketing is not just about selling a product; it’s about understanding and respecting the societal context in which your product exists.

Marketing fail 13: Facial Fitness Pao and Ronaldo

Now, those were some scary influencer marketing fails.

So, let’s end with one that’ll bring a chuckle to your face.

Our final analysis is one of the most eyebrow-raising endorsements in recent times – Cristiano Ronaldo’s promotion of Facial Fitness Pao. ⚽️🤸‍♂️ 

What was this campaign about?

One of the world’s most renowned footballers endorsed a facial fitness device to tone facial muscles.

Looks intriguing, right? 

Well, it turned out to be more baffling than intriguing for many. 🚫😕

The product, aimed at improving facial toning, was met with scepticism and a fair share of giggles. 😂

It was seen as odd and, frankly, not taken seriously by the public. 

Ronaldo’s athletic prowess and charismatic persona, usually a winning combo for endorsements, couldn’t save the day this time. 

The campaign is a classic example of a misfit between the product and the endorser’s persona. 📉

And where’s the proof?

71% of consumers buy from brands that share the same values as they do. 

The mismatch between Ronaldo’s sporting image and the quirky nature of Facial Fitness Pao highlights the importance of ensuring product relevance and credibility in marketing. 📚

The takeaway? 

👉 When selecting a product to endorse, ensuring that it aligns with the influencer’s image and audience expectations is critical. 

Authenticity and credibility in product endorsements are essential, as they can make or break the public’s perception of both the product and the endorser.

A man in a lab coat is holding a clipboard with social media icons.


And there you have it: 13 cringy influencer marketing fails.

Laugh or cry; there’s something to learn in each of them.

Now, go on and grab this free trial of our influencer marketing platform. Use it to find the perfect influencer for epic marketing campaigns. Quick and easy.

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