Ben had recently inherited his family funeral business and wanted to modernise it to attract more customers. He knew he needed help with marketing, so he hired a marketing agency that promised to bring fresh and creative ideas to the table.
The agency made a promising start, until they posted a poorly Photoshopped image on social media without Ben's approval. The image showed an unflattering photograph of Ben's face Photoshopped over the clock face of Big Ben, with a caption typed in Comic Sans font that read "LOVED ONE CLOCKED OUT? BIG BEN’S FUNERAL HOME.”
Ben was horrified when he saw the post, as he knew it was inappropriate and disrespectful to the sensitive nature of his business. He immediately asked the agency to take it down, but it was too late. The post had already gone viral and the backlash was intense.
People online were outraged at the insensitivity of the post and the lack of respect shown to the deceased and their families. Ben's business was bombarded with angry phone calls and negative comments and reviews online, leaving him feeling as though one poor decision had resulted in a business that was built on solid and respectable values being ruined.
Fortunately, Ben isn’t real and neither is the social post in question. Although, there are many examples of similarly questionable social posts being made in poor taste from reputable business accounts. Whilst creativity is certainly an asset to look for when selecting a marketing agency, it should always be used appropriately, especially when dealing with sensitive subjects and audiences.
The moral of the story is that great marketing agencies will always keep in mind the sensitivity of certain industries and work closely with their clients to create appropriate content that is tailored to their audience. They will set agreed boundaries when balancing professionalism and character and also seek sign-off before they post anything online, especially when the content is outside of the client’s comfort zone. Creativity should never come at the expense of a business’ reputation or the dignity of its customers. Likewise, a business owner must protect their business from such circumstances by ensuring that they do their due diligence when hiring internal marketing staff or external support.