April Fools Day pranks are popular in the world of social media marketing and can be a great strategy to target a younger consumer audience. The Doritos company faked a new lineup of bottled water and Google offered Google Gnome — a combination of Alexa and Chrome. Tarte, the popular beauty product company, offered a new dark color palette called Icy Betch.
About Tarte Beauty Products
Tarte was founded by Maureen Kelly in 1999. Exclusively using plant based and cruelty-free materials, Tarte has developed a loyal following of consumers hoping to look fabulous while considering the environment and health. A company that started in Kelly’s apartment in 1999 has carved out a substantial niche within the $35.5 billion makeup industry.
With a passionate and youthful consumer base, Tarte focuses their marketing strategy around the latest social media trends. This brings us to their April Fools Day gaffe. Whereas other companies made obvious social media jokes – like Doritos bottled water– Tarte revealed a new eye shadow color pallette. Many fans instantly wanted in! Four hours later the company announced the color pallette as a joke, to which the response from fans was confusion and disappointment, and many of their passionate followers took them to task online.
Many Fans Left Waiting
Tarte customers retaliated on social media, criticizing the company’s poor taste in humor and saying they wished the product announcement had been real. This only added to the fact that over the years the company had taken a lot of criticism from fans over the lack of diversity in their color palettes. When it was revealed as a hoax, Tarte was left with egg on their face. And, even worse, they left their loyal fans and consumers feeling cheated. Presently, many fans are still crossing their fingers, hoping that Tarte is indeed making a an icy blue palette. In the meantime, the company is promoting its other blue makeup products, attempting to appease their fans and suggesting the new palette may be in the works after all.
What Can Be Learned
A passionate and satisfied consumer base is every business owner’s desire. It seems in the case of Tarte that they weren’t listening to what their returning customers wanted, taking them for granted. The backlash from a bad prank has left them looking clueless at best and mean-spirited at worst. With the release of the actual product, Tarte could have turned the whole story around. Providing their enthusiastic followers with a product they were asking for would have fostered a sense of pride among loyal consumers. Engagement is a term used in excess with marketing. Tarte’s April Fools hoax may have backfired in the short-term, but with so many loyal consumers engaged by the snafu, it’s worth wondering if it might not turn out to be a genius marketing strategy in the end.
For Your Business
Engage your followers on social media and actually listen to them. Marketing is all about reaching potential customers and maintaining loyalty among those you already have. Social media is a great way to see what’s trending within your niche, gain new insights about your consumer base, and actively engage in the conversation. Every once in a while, you may accidentally stir the pot. If you do, you better be prepared to deal with the wrath of your loyal customers and respond appropriately.
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