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Three major brands are in the midst of brand rehabilitation campaigns: Facebook, Uber, and Wells Fargo. Each is cleaning up the mess after scandals rocked their organizations. After Fake News & data impropriety, toxic work culture & sexual harassment, and rampant fraud, we have just one question left about these brands as they pick themselves up from the mat: who is doing it best?

Facebook

Pros:

  • It brings Facebook back to its roots. Any Facebook user who was on the platform in the early days is nostalgic for "how things used to be" and the idea that Facebook itself will lead the charge, to whatever degree, of bring us back to the halcyon days is effective. (But don't hold your breath.)

Cons:

  • Facebook doesn't take responsibility for the recent problems that promoted the need to repair their image. They position these issues as problems or bugs that just popped up, rather than as an outcome of Zuck’s unofficial mantra, "Move fast and break things".

Overall, the "Here Together" campaign relies on nostalgia to remind users why they liked the service in the first place, and to show that the company understand that and is working to recreate that.

Uber

Pros:

  • With a new CEO in Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber has a real occasion to roll out these ads. They've already done something tangible to remedy the problems that plagued the company under founder Travis Kalanick

Cons:

  • Uber is all grown up. Khosrowshahi wears a suit through most of the ad, and makes a series of corporate-y sounding promises that are a stark contrast from the usual messaging you hear from the leading players in the sharing economy. This isn't a major negative, but will be interesting to follow Uber's adoption rates if it goes corporate in response to it's problems and Lyft stays fun, friendly, and informal.

The "Moving Forward" idea makes a clear departure from Uber's past, and shows users that they are a new, more accountable, more responsible company.

Wells Fargo

Pros:

  • An honest and transparent ad that does what both Facebook and Uber tried to do: remind people of who your company was early on, and be accountable for recent transgressions while turning the page on them.

Cons:

  • Not much. This is a great ad. Except...

The same week the ad rolled out, another scandal hit Wells Fargo after employees improperly altered documents about corporate customers. Their CMO, Jamie Moldafsky, came out and said that the internally-identified infraction was a great example of the new culture of trust and accountability that the ad illustrates. However, it's an even better example of the fact that an ad campaign can't reset an entire company culture. They've still got some work to do before they can live up to the campaign's tagline: "Established 1852. Reestablished 2018."


What do you think? Which company is running the best brand rehabilitation campaign?

Jack Callahan

Account Strategist