Saatchi and Saatchi get it horribly wrong for Toyota

Tim Burrowes explains just how wrong Saatchi and Saatchi got Toyota’s Australian social media campaign. There are key lessons here not just for social media marketing, but for social media use across business.

  1. Do not assume that the agencies you work with, whether they are marketing, internal communications or PR, understand social media. The chances are high that they haven’t got a clue.
  2. Do not assume that your internal departments, whether they are marketing, internal communications, PR or any other department, understand social media. The chances are that they haven’t got a clue either.
  3. If your clue-free marketing/internal comms/PR department is working with a clue-free agency on a social media project, all your warning lights should be going off and your klaxons blaring. Danger, Will Robinson! Danger, Will Robinson!
  4. Social media is easier to mess up than to get right. And it’s easier to think you know what you’re doing when you don’t than it is to recognise when you don’t know what you’re doing. All that known unknowns and unknown unknowns, y’know?

The commonest excuse I hear about why companies aren’t going to bother learning about social media themselves is that they ‘don’t have time’ or ‘want results now’. Which is a bit like opening an office in a foreign country, without anyone on staff who can speak the language, and then demanding ‘results now’ whilst expecting nothing to go wrong.

With attitudes like that so prevalent, I expect that social media cock-ups will continue to entertain us throughout the foreseeable future. Maybe I need to start the social media version of FailBlog or ClientsFromHell.