December 23, 2020
FINN Partners Travel Team Reflects on Some Cringe Moments in 2020
Whilst there were some ideas that were just absolutely mind-blowingly great and brilliantly executed, as ever, there have to be some duds and some of these fell flat on their face. In a year when being sensitive about tone and sentiment has never been more important, here’s our team round up of the cringe moment of the year:
Olivia: It was more outrage than cringe, but PureGym’s attempt at marking Black History Month was a huge no-no. Aside from it being utterly unacceptable and completely tone deaf, it only demonstrated that brands should always have a communications team signing off external comms, even if it’s simply a social media post.
Kate: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it yet)”. Fatima was the star of the tone-deaf government-backed cyber-first “Rethink. Reskill. Reboot” advertising campaign. An absolute fail on so many levels.
Cat: Oh Polly’s competition for NHS frontline workers blew up on social media following the winner being unable to attend it’s virtual party. The nurse who couldn’t make the virtual event due to working a 12-hour shift during the pandemic was then told by the brand that despite winning the competition, she couldn’t receive the care package or outfit due to not being able to attend the virtual party. Awkwaaaard.
And another vote for Oh Polly from Melissa: Fashion brand Oh Polly launched a competition on social media for NHS workers to be in with a chance of winning a care package, a new outfit and an invitation to a virtual party. A nurse from Glasgow won the competition, but couldn’t make the virtual event due to working a 12-hour shift. She was then told by the brand that despite winning the competition, she couldn’t receive the care package or the outfit due to not being able to attend the virtual party. So wrong - an example of a brand jumping on the bandwagon to generate social media coverage whilst completely missing the important point of the campaign which was to support NHS workers.
April: Dettol certainly had some cleaning up to do after its latest tube ad in September about getting back to the office as they tried to highlight the role it plays in keeping workspaces free from infection in a very cringeworthy poem. As they attempted to make the return to the office a light-hearted affair by listing things commuters may have missed over the last six months in lockdown, such as 'caffeine-filled air,' 'seeing your second family,' – it definitely did not go to plan and was a touchy subject for some which is hardly surprising!
Becca: Celebrities singing “Imagine” that was made to uplift people’s spirits across the world was definitely an embarrassing cringe worthy moment of 2020. The video, while meant to be uplifting, sparked backlash from critics who believe wealthy celebrities should be doing more to help victims of the outbreak.
Emily: When the poor Aldi PR team was made to go door to door to singing Christmas carols to journalists to promote their Christmas range. My heart went out to the team.
And mine: An inflatable Borat on the Thames to mark the launch of the new films – aren’t we all over things floating down The Thames? It just feels so 2007.