— blending the mix

Welcome to Failure Club

I’m not even going to waste time digging out the name of the originator of the quote about failure. It may have been Thomas Eddison when inventing the light bulb.

It went something like this “each failure is a step closer to success”.

He probably said it more eloquently than me though – he was pretty smart.

It got me thinking, having seen what passes for news in social media these days, that we too often celebrate mediocrity in social media because something made a headline, or a cool brand did something/anything.


Take the rosy glasses off though and ask yourself, “was that REALLY” a good execution? Did it genuinely use insights in a valuable way? Did it generate any discernible ROI other than the old gem “reach”?

Oreos’ 2013 Super Bowl blackout for example, is a perfect example of a good idea, done at an opportune moment which now seems to have created a whole new sub-sector of the social media industry – and why? Brands around the globe are trying to mimic this idea – yet Oreos themselves in the 2014 Super Bowl, decided AGAINST doing anything real-time.

Did anyone see any stats as to the impact of blackout biscuit? What about 4/5 years ago when ASOS launched the first ever Facebook shop? It came down (understandably) with NO evidence as to how it worked. Yet everybody decided to jump on the F-commerce bandwagon.

I totally understand confidentiality but how can you learn from even the most vague or modest successes? Why not learn from what DIDN’T WORK?

Enter ‘Failure Club’.

Failure Club may in itself end up being the new definition of the term ‘failure’, but I want to bring together, regularly (monthly perhaps), a small group of social media professionals to share their horror stories. To learn in a way they may never have done before.

Explain your challenge, approach, solution, what happened (or what didn’t), open it up to the floor and see what you MAY have done better or differently. Perhaps highlight the biggest failure you’ve seen this month.

Either way, you’ll certainly learn something have a laugh (and a drink) and a good old moan.

Confidentiality will be essential (maybe we even have a shakily tattooed “Code of Failure” etched in to our thighs) but only bring what you dare to share. I don’t want people getting in trouble!

What happens in Failure Club stays in Failure Club.

Learning from failure can be one of the most valuable things we do, and if it fails – well at least we’ve learnt that talking crap can still be a good laugh.

Location TBC, but a projector and booze is likely to be important.

If you’re in, let me know below in the comments or drop me an email at paul dot fabretti at gmail dot com.

Once I’ve got more details I’ll send more info.


  1. gedcarroll says: March 14, 20147:30 am

    Basically the scientific method in soc.media Paul.

    Re Oreo was about breaking the rules in creativity which works so long as it is outside the norm: madonna in the late 1980s, Benetton’s first shock ads etc (all way before soc. Media)

    Apologies for case fubar typed in tube station.

  2. Jamie Riddell says: March 14, 20149:28 am

    Paul, you raise a number of issues so excuse me if I go off on one..

    1. Any new concept receives such a huge amount of coverage, sometimes without much fact checking or challenging of the story. (Ged’s points are totally valid but sadly still a rare occurrence/justification) With Mashable, TNW et. al pushing for eyeballs any big named brand activity will be fawned over.
    2. There is still a lack of independent thinking in this industry. For one headline act like the ASOS shop, we see a thousand imitators. Today on Linkedin I saw yet another post telling me the best time to post on Facebook and Twitter. No-one, apart from me, actively challenged the facts so this becomes gospel for a million planners. (In the land of the blind etc.)
    3. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn from it.

    I’d love to be in, if you’ll have me :-)

  3. paulfabretti says: March 14, 201410:03 am

    Yep, totally agree there Ged, but as Jamie points out below, way, way too many agencies and brands then mimick that ‘break’ in creativity and that suddenly becomes “the next big thing” – with little foundation (or success).

    Success in one field/area should not automatically be assumed as appropriate in another. It’s fair to say that f-commerce as it became known is not going to work, not just because research now suggests that consumers are not in facebook to buy, but because of the endless attempts and failures to make it work.

    That said, every failure is a step closer to success and trial and error should absolutely be encouraged – but another wise man said that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result.

    Learning from failure is critical.

  4. paulfabretti says: March 14, 201410:05 am

    IN :-) and the LAST point is exactly why Failure Club needs to exist!

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