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Suiting Up for Summer

It’s almost summer, and warm, sunny vacation spots are on the minds of most of us. Buying a new swimsuit is often one of the pre-holiday to-dos. Consequently, swimwear retailers start gearing up for vacation season in the spring by advertising and presenting offers they hope will encourage customers to start buying. One company, Sunny Co. Clothing, did just that, launching an online promo on May 2nd of this year, and demonstrating that overexposure doesn’t just happen poolside.

Instagram Win, Twitter Fail

Sunny Co. Clothing’s promo, was simple. The company posted a picture of a woman in a red swimsuit on Instagram. Along with the picture, it stated that anyone who reposted the photo and tagged the company in a 24-hour period would receive a free swimsuit. What a fantastic offer! A $64.99 item is yours after just a few clicks. What could go wrong? Well, it was so popular that the retailer could barely cope with all the reposts. The company stated on May 3rd that it may cap the promo and that recipients of the free swimsuit might have to wait just a bit longer to receive it. However, on Twitter, the promo belly flopped big-time, and is destined to go down as one major 2017 Twitter fail.

Seeing Red

In the Twitterverse, users quickly tired of seeing the red swimsuit over and over again in their feeds. Some responded by complaining about it. “Some users shared photoshopped versions of the image, others likened the Sunny Suit to a high school wrestling uniform, while many joked that their female friends would face a mortifying moment when they all show up to the beach in identical get-up.”1

What remains in people’s minds long after the offer ended is how annoying it was to see all those red suits, not how great a deal the promo was. Sunny Co. Clothing’s brand is now known internationally, but not for the right reason.

Social Media Fortune Telling

So, what can companies do to avoid a Twitter fail like this? Well, business owners really have to be doomsday fortune tellers. They must foresee all possible eventualities of a campaign, particularly potential disasters. They have to ask “what if” questions well before they launch the campaign, such as:

  • What if the promo is too successful? Will we be able to meet consumer demand?
  • What if the offer goes viral? How will it look on social media to the non-participant?
  • What if people get creative? Is there potential for image and content manipulation?
  • What if the worst-case scenario happened? Could we handle it or should we rethink the offer?

Social media channels are interesting mediums. They each have their own characteristics and tone. Not every campaign is going to work well across the board. Thus, preparing for all eventualities and tweaking how the message is presented on each channel may prevent your business from becoming the next Twitter fail case study.


1“Sunny Co. Clothing’s Red Swimsuit Was a Hit on Instagram. Twitter? Not So Much.” Time. 03 May 2017. Web. 14 Jun. 2017.

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