By now, you’ve probably heard plenty about the mixed reception the new Ninja Turtles movie’s been getting. Chances are, plenty of it was the result of out of marketing completely letting things run wild. (Case in point: the insistent highlighting of Michael Bay’s name.)
Luckily the fiasco teaches plenty of ninjutsu lessons on quick damage control. In this two-part series, you can learn how the style can work for your own lead generation campaign.
The moment Bay’s name came out, haters swarmed out of the woodwork with every accusation imaginable. He was going to destroy the character design, the story, the cast, the filming, and God knows what else even though the truth was he wasn’t even directing the movie this time.
This is the same case in B2B marketing. Tie any major name or brand to a project/product and there’s a there’s a tendency to presume the aforementioned entity will play a huge role in either overseeing it or influencing it. At times this strategy makes for good publicity, but other times it proves a reality that’s all too real for B2B marketing professionals.
First Mistake: Publication
The first wave began when details of the film just started coming out. This is why marketers must take great pains to make good first impressions. They can last for a long time (a very, very long time). One careless word could start a whole round of accusations so it’s important to make the whole process of clarifying into a reflex action.
The real director, Jonathan Liebesman had released info on the reboot last 2013. It would’ve been fine if they all said something along the lines about how they’ll go more in depth on the backstory and everything but Bay had to say it differently.
“When you see this movie, kids will believe one day that these turtles do exist, when we’re done with this movie. These turtles [in the reboot] are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable.”
Obviously, you don’t need a clairvoyant sensei to predict the outcome of that.
Damage Control Technique: Fast Chill
Michael Bay himself seemed well aware and quickly made efforts to calm the outcry:
“There was that quote saying that we’re making (the Ninja Turtles as) aliens. We’re not. It’s the ooze! It’s from the original source material. These are from the original writers, and I never went out to correct myself in the press, I do listen to the fans and I do want this to be authentic. I think they’re going to be really happy with this movie. When I see the digital stuff, the turtles look great.”
Granted, his reputation with Transformers may have played a significant factor in making this less effective. Hopefully though, you wouldn’t have to be burdened with additional bad rep.
Seond Mistake: Poor Marketing Materials
In other bad news, a controversial poster of the Turtles also earned the ire critics simply because of the presence of an exploding New York building coupled with the inclusion 9/11 as the release date. With so something so poor in taste, who could blame them?
The controversial poster first popped up in Paramount Australia’s Twitter post last July 29th but removed it minutes after the comments rolled in.
Even Bay himself was furious: “When I woke up and saw that, I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ That was a silly, dumb mistake. Trust me— I yelled at them. Normally everything goes through me, and no one showed me that poster.”
Damage Control Technique: Transparent Action
When creating material featuring your products or services, it’s normal to make it look grand and exciting. The problem is knowing how far you should go and putting it in context.
Yet even if it’s not easy to double check messages and how others might take it for, you can show how fast you’re working to fix the damage (just like Michael Bay).
The poster was immediately removed and a public apology was made stating it was a mistake that the people in Paramount Australia didn’t realize:
“We are deeply sorry to have used that artwork for the marketing materials promoting the September 11 opening in Australia. Combining that image and date was a mistake. We intended no offense and have taken immediate action to discontinue its use.”
Those are just two the quick damage control techniques used to try and save public reception of TMNT. Stay tuned for next week for Part 2 (which coincidentally is when more reviews will start coming in).