3 Brands That Proved Influencer Marketing Campaigns Don’t Always Work!

  • Author: sanjana
  • |
  • Updated Date : February 18, 2022

Picture this. You are scrolling through Instagram, Virat Kohli’s latest post catches your eye. He is sporting some cool new kicks and you instantly look it up. The fitness blogger you religiously follow just posted about an all-new energy supplement, and since you trust their expert opinion, you go ahead and place an order for the same.


Notice how you didn’t hear a brand speak about its product in either of the cases. Instead, the voice of reason came from someone that you admire and voluntarily follow on a social platform. This is the essence behind influencer marketing. The premise behind influencer marketing is simple – a brand connects with one or more influencers, who then promote the brand laced with just enough conviction. This automatically drives ardent followers to patronize the brand.


Influencer Marketing services have witnessed a spike in the last few years. You will see this buzzword being thrown around in every marketing conference. Brands around the world have incorporated these in their strategy with different objectives. The billion-dollar question here is, is influencer marketing really a one-size-fits-all kind of strategy? 


Well, to get a better understanding of how to (or rather how not to) plan an influencer campaign, we’ve put together some campaigns that have backfired in the past leaving both the brand and influencer red-faced. 



Touted to be an event slathered with grandeur, Jio’s launch by Mukesh Ambani and hosted by King Khan was expected to leave no stone unturned. The #CelebratingJio campaign was used to take people behind-the-scenes of the launch, and get people talking about this major network and how beneficial it will be for Indians, especially the rural folks. But little did they know that the hashtag would trend for all the wrong reasons. To amplify the launch campaign, the Jio team got celebrities to tweet a congratulatory message. Unfortunately, all the celebrities that were a part of this campaign ended up tweeting the exact same message. This campaign failed because of a common human error- COPY + PASTE! 


While it is imminent that brands want to have a direct say in what the celebrity or influencer in question is sharing, this does not warrant the brand sharing a template with their collaborator. There are high chances of the endorsement seeming inorganic in such an arrangement. People are intuitive and have adapted to the digital age with enough caution to be able to detect sponsored posts. It is important for brands to be mindful of this and ensure that while running an influencer campaign, the content is as genuine and simple as possible. Don’t templatize your endorsement – rather, let it flow organically. 


Another example of a similar error would have to be the one that transpired during the release of Sachin the Film. Fellow cricketers including Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, and others, while promoting the teaser clip on Twitter, ended up sharing the exact same copy in their tweets. The Twitterati was quick to observe this and retweets of these began going viral. Thankfully this was rectified as each of them shared their personal message instead of following a template when it was time for the movie launch. 

Do’s and Dont’s of an Influencer Marketing Campaign:

1) Do not restrict your collaborators to stick to a template

2) Ensure that you communicate the execution details clearly

3) Aside from tagging the brand and using the hashtag, everything else should be left to the free will of the influencer to draft and share for approval. This way both the brands’ guidelines and the influencer’s persona can be kept intact. This clarity in communication is key when it comes to co-creating with an influencer.



For Tata Tea’s new product launch Fruski, they collaborated with stand-up comedian Biswa Kalyan Rath for the #FruskiLeak. Knowing the comedian, you’d expect a funny and quirky take on the campaign. This is where the brand missed the mark. 


Instead of letting the comedian write his own lines with his signature quip, the communication was flat and product-centric which made it evident that it was a sponsored post and not a genuine recommendation. People tend to connect with words, especially when they find it relatable. It is this psychological connect that drives them to follow these influencers. When they saw a happy-go-lucky person like him use a rigid tone, it made the endorsement seem rather robotic and promotional which hit far from home because of which neither the campaign nor the product picked up momentum. Even though the brand managed to acquire a decent reach, the campaign would have been a soaring success if the influencer marketing services were utilized optimally. The whole purpose of using a comedian was defeated since they didn’t leverage the influencer’s USP. 


Another point to note here is the campaign hashtag. Upon hearing “#FruskiLeak” one’d hope to find behind the scene content or some interesting reviews. But instead, we were met with a bland robotic delivery. The campaign hashtag needs to be self-explanatory. It is not just about having a hashtag that has a nice ring to it, because it will be rendered irrelevant if it cannot clearly communicate the core message. While the brand was going after the communication that only a select few influencers received this product before anyone else in a bid to create some hype around the product,  but that did not come through. Instead, it ended up sounding like a product review. 

Do’s and Dont’s of an Influencer Marketing Campaign:

1) While there is a certain way to go about creating brand-centric content, it doesn’t necessarily always have to be utilized. Allow the influencer to connect with the brand, product, or business, and give them the freedom to create something that will feel true to their personality. This way you will create something that is more authentic and be appreciated by your audience.

2) Choose your campaign hashtag wisely. The hashtag needs to do justice to your content. Ensure that you are keeping the content tailormade according to your influencer and not focused on your brand or product, which will result in higher chances of success. 



We often hear about brands that have messed up their messaging or campaign, and the influencer representing the same is also called out for that. It can even be the other way around in some cases. This campaign by Google Pixel is one such scenario where the influencer erroneously made it evident that the endorsement wasn’t entirely genuine. 

While promoting the latest model of Google Pixel’s camera quality, Anushka Sharma, a well known Bollywood actress, inadvertently uploaded the post through an iPhone. The trust factor goes down in such a scenario for the influencer and unfortunately, also for the brand. In this case, the influencer unintentionally promoted the iPhone owing to this trivial error. Especially since there is often a brand war between Apple and its competitors, this error is what this campaign is infamous for, to date.

Do’s and Dont’s of an Influencer Marketing Campaign:

1) Always double-check even the tiniest details before taking an endorsement live. With a massive following comes the risk of being trolled. Even the slightest error could result in massive backlash for both the influencer and the brand. To avoid such an error, it is important that the influencers believe and understands the brand or product that they are promoting and ensure that a hygiene check is done before taking the post live. 

2) Just like any other strategy, influencer marketing services need to be tailored to fit the influencer, brand, and objective. The principle remains the same but the planning and execution cannot be generalized. All these variables need to be checked before taking live.


A successful influencer marketing campaign depends on several factors. A few of them are as follows:


Just because an influencer happens to be a lifestyle blogger, doesn’t mean that they are the right choice to promote your new range of cosmetics. Don’t be fooled by the numbers. Look deeper into their posts/stories and see if they are someone who has more subject matter knowledge than your average blogger. It is very important to vet the influencer and ensure that their ethos matches your brand and that they truly are the right representative for you. Trial and error will always show you that successful influencer marketing campaigns are those wherein the influencer truly believes in what they intend to promote.


In today’s digital world, your audience is constantly subjected to product ads. They already get their dose of  “Buy me, Try me” sales pitch from these ads. They certainly do not want to see the same being communicated through a person whose inputs they truly value. If the influencer uses a tone that doesn’t feel that doesn’t seem original or doesn’t match up to what their normal way of communication would be, the brand and the influencer end up losing a valued customer.  People look up to these influencers for authenticity, and when they do not get what they came looking for that leaves a negative impression on their mind regarding both the brand and the influencer. 


Now that you’ve got the who and the how sorted, it is important to focus on the where. Where do you really want them to promote your brand, and which is the right platform where your influencer has a solid influence? A well-loved personality might have more influence on Instagram than Twitter, even though the number of followers might be equally high on both platforms. Find where their voice would be truly heard and appreciated and opt for influencer marketing services accordingly.


To conclude, a brand should put a great deal of thought behind their campaigns and try to keep it simple. Build long term relationships with collaborators to truly get the best for your brand and be part of the conversation with your audience. Be genuine and care for your audience, and the rest usually works out just as you want it to.


Which influencer marketing campaign stands out-in a good/bad way- according to you and why?

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