Is it Smart to Trick a Customer into Swiping an Instagram Ad?

Shoe with hairThis past Black Friday, the Chinese shoe company Kaiwei Ni launched a rather unusual Instagram marketing ad. The company created an advertising image with a fake strand of hair embedded into it so that every time a user viewed the ad, it would appear as if a strand of hair was on their screen. To get rid of the strand of hair, most people swiped the ad which, in turn, opened it. 

This strategy has received much criticism from marketers and simultaneously, props from many Instagram users. Admittedly, it is a bit clever. That said, it’s also a little low. Tricking someone into visiting your website is not recommended and here’s why. This type of strategy does not even remotely qualify the consumer. In this example, they ended of swiping to get rid of a strand of hair on their smartphones and ended up on a site with discounted shoes for sale. While it’s unclear how many sales were actually generated from this, we would guess not too many.

So is it smart to use these type of techniques to reach consumers and generate buzz – to put it succinctly, no it’s not. The buzz that a company assumes it will generate only ends up resulting in articles like these, using this Kaiwei Ni ad as a terrible example of growth hacking and marketing. As creative as this may be, it’s dishonest marketing. After the ad had been brought to Instagram’s attention, they removed it immediately and banned the official company account, ensuring that permission was revoked from allowing them to continue posting on the site.

When we say to ‘get creative with your marketing’, this is not what we mean. Ideally, when launching a campaign, you always want to think of whose benefiting. In this particular case, we assume that the reasoning was, ‘if we can only get consumers to see our products, they would recognize the value and buy’. The problem was that they invested no time in qualifying the customer and instead chose a method to simply get views. Needless to say, it backfired. The company surely didn’t generate the sales they thought they would, it left consumers annoyed, and the Kaiwei Ni brand is permanently tarnished because of this incident. Now, anytime someone puts ‘Kaiwei Ni’ into Google, this is what’s going to come up.

The users who have commended the ad for being ‘amazingly creative’ and an example of ‘good design’ are somewhat mistaken. There’s no denying the creativity at play but it’s a highly flawed marketing campaign and not one that any company should ever consider seriously launching.

The right way to build a company’s marketing campaign is by finding how to successfully target your audience, qualifying their interest, building a brand of integrity and professionalism, and using marketing tools to entertain the consumer rather than to trick them. We strongly believe that any time you show a consumer respect and give them something that either makes them laugh, makes them think, answers a question, or solves a problem, it results in qualified interest and in turn, a potential sale. THAT’S how you build a marketing plan!

For more information on growth hacking and successful online strategies for Instagram marketing, get in touch with Unlimited Exposure. We are one of Toronto’s most trusted companies in internet marketing, providing online business solutions that help grow audiences.

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