The Inbox Audit: The Art of the Oops Email >

face palm crop

It’s the email marketer’s biggest fear: a campaign with an error that *gasp* gets deployed! While we try to minimize risk through extensive QA, multiple tests and rounds of approval, we’re all human. And there’s no UN-send button. These days, though, many marketers are taking advantage of this painful situation and making lemonade with their lemons.

Enter the “Oops” email. While nobody likes having to send these, they offer an excellent opportunity to capture the attention of consumers and show a bit of personality. Mistakes happen, but a brand that truly owns their mistakes and attempts to make things right can have a huge impact on consumer behavior and loyalty.

Here are a few examples of Oops emails that caught our eye:

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.23.45 AM


Subject Line: A note about today.

Pre-header Text: We’re sorry about earlier.

This email is in response to technical difficulties experienced by Targeted to contacts that attempted to make an order and were unsuccessful due to site errors. It uses eye-catching imagery and quirky but humble copy to ask for a shot at redemption. The $5 off your next order helps too, but it’s the honesty and ownership that really caught our eye.


Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.27.17 AM


Subject Line: Wow, we really goofed – forgive us?

Pre-header Text: Free Medium Sundae (Really, Promise)

This email used a great attention-grabbing subject line and pre-header combo to get the initial open. The imagery is what really makes this one sing, though. Who hasn’t dropped an ice cream cone at some point? And even if you haven’t, surely you understand what a devastating event that must be. Friendly’s was able to make an apology while still promoting the coupon that they originally meant to share with its contacts.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.27.39 AM



Subject line: Oops. Please ignore our last email.

Pre-header Text: Invite friends, share £30

The gorgeous UK direct design company Made was planning an uber-creative email that capitalized on a news event that everyone was talking about: The Scottish independence vote. But… they accidentally hit send on the wrong email. Face palm. This Oops email gets an A+, since they followed up with Union Jack items and a discount, a very smart and cheeky recovery. Well played!

Leave a Reply
(will not be published)