March 18
Gabriel Chua

Here’s the thing. We’ve all heard of the term “Integrated Marketing Communications”, or IMC, for short. But what exactly is it? To put it simply, it’s all the promotional tools used by a company that ensures a clear linkage between communication and messages in a marketing campaign. So with that out of the way, why do some IMC campaigns succeed and some don’t?

A sudden breeze changing direction? Or did someone, somewhere, not get the memo, and followed through the campaign without knowing how it was to function? Regardless, I am of the opinion that some campaigns, ultimately fail due to an inherently flawed design.

According to Kaplan and Hein, there are 5 key pieces of advice when it comes to a successful viral marketing campaign, as shown above, and thus 5 key pieces of valuable information needed when building an IMC campaign. So, is there any consequences if these were not properly considered?

You’re absolutely right there is! A General Motors (GM) campaign for its Chevy Tahoe SUV well, didn’t cause a stir, when it allowed customers to market the vehicle themselves, using GM sponsored products. And then, BAM! Instant backfire when most of the videos filmed by the customers appeared to show the Chevy Tahoe as a totally unsafe product. Clearly, GM didn’t consider that their viral marketing campaign had to be backed up by traditional marketing methods of their own, which was one of the key pieces of advice that I mentioned earlier, and thus clearly, a flawed design had ultimately ruined their campaign. So then, what must be done, you may ask, in order for a campaign to go viral when planning and executing one?

I’M PICKLE RICK! Oh how I love Rick & Morty. Anyways, Rick and Morty is an ongoing adult-cartoon that referenced a McDonald’s product, the Szechua Sauce, in one of their episodes. Picking up on this, McDonald’s brought back the sauce and after it was unavailable in most of their US outlets, apologised and decided to ship another 20 million units of the sauce across all its US outlets. So what’s my point in mentioning all of this? It’s just to show how McDonald’s, capitalising on Rick & Morty’s status as one of the best cartoon as one of the most beloved cartoons of all time, brought back a product, that the show referenced, in order to reinforce their tagline of, “I’m Loving it,”. See the connection? One of the most “beloved” adult cartoons, and ‘I’m loving it”? Again, what this shows is how why it is hugely important to make sure tactics utilised are integrated with the overall brand strategy. It is no wonder at all why it has been noted that this particular campaign by McDonald’s , had the ability to not only reignite customer interest but boost business as well.

With all that I’ve mentioned, what exactly can help drive business? No. not a man. No, not a pickle, but a properly planned and thought-out IMC! So what do you readers think? Do drop a comment in the section below and share with me your thoughts!

Signing off,


10 thoughts on “IS IT A MAN? IS IT A PICKLE? NO, IT’S AN IMC!

  1. I agree, an IMC plan could potentially make or break a marketing campaign. Interesting note on Kaplan and Hein 5 pieces of advice to ensure a successful viral campaign. Integration is definitely a key component when planning your IMC so that resources are not going down the drain. Great use of the Rick and Morty cartoon and MacDonald example to showcase the concept of integration 🙂 Great read!


    1. Thanks for the comment! Integration is hugely important, no matter what business you might be operating in. Though I feel timing is important as well and should’ve been incorporated into the 5 pieces by Kaplan & Hein. I feel like, if you were to release a campaign at the same time as another business, your own campaign might quite possibly be overshadowed. So if there is a need for you to break through the clutter, more monetary resources might be required which again, you might not have. So the only other way to combat this is time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the examples! Indeed its important for companies to plan their IMC Plan properly, before it backfires like the General Motors campaign, it is difficult to recover from a brand damage. McDonalds was smart to advertise on Rick & Morty, viewers would definitely influence their viewers to try a product mentioned. People would start talking about it and McDonalds would gain more customers, even if the product is sold out, the customer would probably order something else instead, really clever. Do you think having an IMC is worth it?


    1. Yup I definitely agree that an IMC is worth it! There was an additional article that I read as well about the Szechuan Sauce was actually being sold on ebay and other sites for roughly several thousand dollars! It only shows that an IMC campaign definitely has the ability to have far more reach than anyone thought possible! If businesses were to capitalise on such marketing stunts, there is no doubt that word of mouth would spread and enhance the popularity of your business even further!


  3. Ah your posts are always so entertaining yet content-oriented with relevant examples! How unfortunate that GM’s flawed IMC plan led to the demise of their campaign, but I feel that you could have touched more on the specific consequences of this failure! How did their design flaw ruin the campaign? What are the financial losses involved? Did they try to remedy the situation?


    1. Thanks for the comment! Hmm, I do agree that perhaps I should have mentioned more of the specific outcomes of the failure by GM. It is good to show more to really drive home the point of the consequences that could result if an IMC is improperly planned. Appreciate the advice! Will definitely help with how I approach my future posts!


  4. That McDonald’s campaign was amazing! If only their products are as good as their marketing campaigns😂


  5. Good example used to show how the IMC framework is relevant and not out of touch! Perhaps some coverage can be done on how evaluation of marketing strategies can be based off the framework maybe in the next article? But overall, decent read and way to introduce the framework!


    1. Thanks for the comment! Mmm, I do see where you’re coming from. It now does seem a bit weird that I ended off the post without showing how some form of evaluation is required because at the end of the day, there must be some form of control measure that is set in place. Appreciate the advice and glad you enjoyed the read!


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