After running a marathon of 42.195km and finally crossing the finish line, there is no doubt that the runners would feel incredibly satisfied with their achievement. There is no way that any contestant’s day will be ruined by a congratulating message email sent after the event right? Unfortunately, that was how Adidas messed up at the Boston Marathon last month and they had to release an apology to the public, and here’s why.
After the event, as one of the official sponsors of the event, Adidas sent out an email to all the participants with the title of ‘Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!’. If this was the Melbourne Marathon or any Standard Chartered Marathons, runners would take it as a kind and reasonable congratulating email. However, Bostons marathoners won’t react the same way. This is because some runner didn’t ‘survive’ from the bombing incident that happened in 2013, where 3 people were killed and 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line. The email marketing team at Adidas has totally neglected the fact that the wording of this title is entirely inappropriate. As a result, this has gone viral and people are NOT impressed with Adidas.
This is why marketers need to be extremely cautious when they undertake email marketing. If the title is not appropriate, no matter how interesting the content of the email is, it will still become a disaster. Readers saw the title of the Boston marathon congratulating email and immediately got reminded of the 2013 incident. They could’ve just simply word it like ‘You aced Boston Marathon’ or ‘A huge congratulations to all 2017 Boston Marathon participants’. The lesson for Adidas is that they need to do more research about the history of any incidents of a sponsored event before they come up with a plan with the digital marketing strategy that they have selected.
Let’s give Adidas a second chance and hopefully they will be more careful next time. Can you guys think of any other times when email marketing has gone wrong?