Epic Social Media Fail
Learning from Miele’s Failed Woman’s Day Campaign
Happy Womens Month - KCS-01-01

Social media can be a brand’s biggest asset or it’s achilles heel. We have all seen social media success stories of how businesses have stumbled in to viral moments that sent their following, brand recognition, and revenues through the roof. It’s every business owner’s dream but without an effective strategy and thoughtful, impactful copy that dream can quickly become a nightmare. Going viral for the WRONG reason is a nightmare for any business. Let’s take Miele, German appliance manufacturer, for example: 

Miele’s International Woman’s Day Facebook Fail

Miele is an extremely successful German Appliance Manufacturer that has operated for 123 years. Operating a business for over a decade requires the ability to adjust and adapt to the ever-changing world. Miele seemed to be doing pretty well up until they launched their International’s Women’s Day campaign March 18, 2019. (Image on the right)

The Backlash

Miele’s attempted tribute to women was extremely short-lived. The appliance giant was immediately met with much resistance when the women they were attempting to appeal to failed to respond the way they had hoped. Women were not thrilled about the image of women surrounding a washer and dryer while celebrating International Woman’s Day. But why the backlash? What is International Women’s Day? 

“The objective of Women’s Day is to express love and gratitude towards women’s’ contribution to our lives and society. It honours the power and struggles of women who have broken all barriers and reached the pinnacle of success in every sphere of life”


According to Womendayscelebration.com, “The objective of Women’s Day is to express love and gratitude towards women’s’ contribution to our lives and society. It honours the power and struggles of women who have broken all barriers and reached the pinnacle of success in every sphere of life”. So did Miele’s Facebook post give tribute women’s contribution to society? Did it honor the women who struggled to break barriers to success? Not at all. Instead, the post seemed to endorse and support the antiquated idea of gender roles and reinforce the stereotype that women are meant for domestic duties. Or at least this is how it came across to many of the women they were targeting in this campaign. Let’s take a look at where they went wrong and how your small business can avoid making the same mistakes.

Mistake #1: Failure to listen to their target audience

Source: https://etandoz.com/best-womens-day-campaign-ideas/

Social media isn’t just about trying to bring awareness to your brand or selling products, it’s also an invaluable means of connecting with consumers to monitor their needs, beliefs, and opinions. This allows companies to understand consumers better to reach them more effectively. Even in the 2000s, women’s issues are still at the forefront of society’s top challenges. Women have fought hard against old-fashioned imagery of a women’s place being in the home doing domestic duties. Had Miele applied the effort to understand the climate of women’s issues via posts, comments, groups, and public campaigns they likely would’ve concerned a campaign that women would’ve gotten behind instead of a post that had to be removed within hours. The example to the left shows Ked’s campaign showing support and encouragement for women to be and do whatever they want. They listened to their audience and developed an appealing campaign.

Mistake #2: Improper Review Process

Every time I see a mistake like this occur, I immediately know that they didn’t facilitate proper review and testing before rolling it out. Essentially, who looked over Miele’s idea and said “Yes! This absolutely honors women, isn’t offensive to their cause!”. While we can’t answer this question, I am comfortable saying whoever weighed in on this decision wasn’t a cultural consultant or a large mixed group of women. It’s important to get relevant input before launching campaigns because many times the people pitching these ideas may not have special insight into the groups being targeted so there should be a strong review process that can provide feedback and redirection if necessary to ensure the goal is achieved and the audience isn’t alienated or offended. Don’t rush the content, going through the appropriate process for content review is vital to avoiding a social media branding disaster. 

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat… this list of social media channels has grown exponentially over the past decade. While this means a monumental increase in opportunities to connect with buyers, this also means more opportunities to miss the mark. The difference being that the damage one post can do can change the entire trajectory of your business or lose you large segment of customers. Listen to your audience to learn how to better connect with them and double check to make sure your strategy is effective, and you’ll avoid this nasty hiccup. 

Running a small business can be challenging in today’s climate but with the right tools, your endeavor can become a thriving enterprise. Planning and goal-setting are essential for consistent branding and marketing in your organization. When in doubt, consult a professional or visit King Marketing 101 for tips and resources. 


Raymell King-Foster (Ray), has a Bachelors in Business & Organizational Leadership in Orlando, FL and a professional background in non-profit, education, marketing design, and management. She is the President and Creative Director of King Creative Solutions, a creative design agency that delivers high-quality design, strategies, and expertise to their clients.

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