Facebook and MeUndies.com Are Having a Great Cat-and-Mouse Game

Case study on circumventing ad rules and getting results

Facebook keeps catching MeUndies.com with its pants down when it comes to ad policies on the social network. But the underwear e-tailer is having too much fun and experiencing too much success to stop.

In April, Los Angeles-based MeUndies.com's ads employed pictures of scantily-clad models, but Facebook banned them. So the Web merchant last week began using stick-figure cartoons and links to its previously banned promos with headlines that read: "2 hot 4 Facebook." The parody ads got click-through rate three to five times higher than normal. MeUndies.com retargeted visitors to its website with more Facebook ads.

Well, its parody campaign then also ran into trouble—Facebook told the player it can't use its name in their marketing language.

"I want to be clear we love Facebook, but we did grow frustrated with some of their guidelines," Dan King, a marketing lead at MeUndies.com, told Adweek. "We noticed they may have pushed an update to guidelines looking out for any messaging that refers to Facebook in a negative way."

Most of the e-commerce company's marketing is done on Facebook, King said.

"We came up with this concept to toy with Facebook, and this would create even more interest from casual news feed readers likely to click through to our website to see what all the fuss was about," he said.

Here is what Facebook told his team: "Your ad wasn't approved because it uses Facebook logos, trademarks, or site terminology, such as 'The Facebook,' 'FacebookHigh,' 'FBook,' 'FB,' 'Poke,' 'Wall,' or other company graphics, logos, designs, or icons."

King said his copywriting staffers are testing language that will allow MeUndies.com to keep marketing its ads as "2 hot 4 Facebook." They are tweaking the language to circumvent the new rules, instead of "Facebook," they'll say "2 hot 4 fb," switching uppercase and lowercase and abbreviations, to see what gets past the screening process.

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