A wise client once said: When in doubt, blame your ad agency.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky did as much in this week’s episode of the Recode Decode podcast, when host Kara Swisher asked him about his company’s tone deaf bus shelter ads that ran in San Francisco, poking fun at public services like the library.
“The ad agency approved it and one person in our company saw it,” he said.
Chesky didn’t name the agency, but TBWA/Chiat/Day Los Angeles won the account in early September and created those ads. He explained that Airbnb was growing so fast that the campaign, an effort to counter the thought that Airbnb doesn’t pay its fair share in taxes, didn’t get enough attention internally.
— jessamyn west (@jessamyn) October 21, 2015
“The moment we saw it, we knew,” he told Swisher. “People were outraged and we were really embarrassed internally.”
Airbnb has been fighting a very public battle in San Francisco against Proposition F, a ballot proposal that would regulate short-term rentals. Opponents to Airbnb tried to get the board and the mayor of the city to repeal the law, and eventually, it went to a ballot. That led to a lot of misunderstanding and confusion of the issues, Chesky said.
“The crazy thing was, these posters had nothing to do with the campaign,” Chesky said in the podcast. “But it seemed like it was related to this fight and it made us look like jerks.”
Of course, brands blaming agencies is a time-honored tradition: Nissan blamed its ad agency for a tweet about Tesla last year. Earlier this year, an ad starring Indian actress Aishwarya Rai holding a dark-skinned child was called racist: Rai immediately blamed the agency. And back in 2011, when Durex tweeted a horribly sexist joke, it said its agency, Euro RCSG, was to blame.
Why one agency is drawing inspiration from Jesus and avocados for Super Bowl marketing
Lerma's founder and CEO talks about the relevance of a multicultural marketing approach, the growing influence of Hispanic culture and more.
Google-Meta duopoly continues to creak in their ‘heightened maturity’ as Amazon, Apple ascend
The shadow both Apple and Amazon have cast over advertising dollars is getting longer by the quarter.
Why advertisers are still making space for experimental budgets even with economic uncertainty
Even in the midst of economic uncertainty, advertisers are bullish on experimental ad spend.
SponsoredWhy Best Buy Ads sees retail media as integral to its customer-centric purpose
Sponsored by Best Buy Ads Retail media networks have become critical for marketers, with retailers investing in ways that enable advertisers to engage consumers across online and offline channels. Given the wealth of retailers’ first-party customer data and measurement capabilities, retail media networks have become a natural fit for augmenting performance marketing programs. Alongside the […]
Marketers move beyond the basics of ChatGPT with new tools
Companies are setting their sights past OpenAI's free version and integrating their own data sets for new ads, bots and idea generators.
How the recession could impact brands’ metaverse spending
Digiday reached out to four experts to figure out how brands’ spending in the metaverse might change as they tighten the purse straps in preparation for a recession. Here are some of the biggest takeaways.