Brand names play a significant role in recognition for companies. Popular brand names that live up to their reputations attract more attention from consumers than brands that are not recognized or that do not live up to their name. However, even the best brands face negative publicity or become victims of fake stories. Recently, Fisher Price became the victim of a fake ad on social media.

Social media can play a big role for companies who want to promote their brands. After all, there are more than one billion users on social media. Therefore, social media creates lots of exposure for advertisements. Further, sites such as Facebook can target specific consumers with interests that match products or services advertised.

However, social media is prone to fake ads and news. In addition, it gives consumers the opportunity to express themselves, which could further exacerbate a non-existing problem, making it a disaster. Such are the risks that companies face when they become victims of fake advertisements.

Fisher Price was recently a victim of fake advertising when an advertisement reached social media with a new toy. Showcasing a Happy Hour Playset, the ad depicts a setting of toddlers surrounding a toy bar complete with toy beer bottles. While many viewers realized the ad was fake, other viewers became offended and reached out to Fisher Price. The difficulty today is that many ads and news stories may appear to be true. Therefore, viewers may not always know what is true and what is not, especially when the ad captures the look and feel of the real thing.

The fake ad creates a lot of work for Fisher Price in trying to convince viewers that it has no part in such an ad or that it does not condone a drinking playset for children. What has been a reputable brand name for years can easily be tarnished by a fake ad that is likely meant to be harmless. Since the ad can reach hundreds of thousands of people, it can be difficult to assure all viewers that the real-looking ad is not real. As a result, it could lower the value of the brand if consumers start to view it negatively and turn to other brands instead.

While many fake ads may be created out of boredom as a humorous prank, they represent nightmares for brand names.