Oh boy, Farmers. What a palaver! Sending an email to your list of thousands saying their mum has been in touch and created a wish list for Mother's Day is not your finest moment.
Here's the news coverage for context but essentially, someone at Farmers or their agency has come up with this idea and not a single person on the campaign, in the agency, in store - no one who had a shred of knowledge, pointed out the glaringly obvious error.
Not all Mothers have connectivity with Farmers because, you know, they're dead. Or estranged. Or simply don't subscribe to Mother's Day promotion.
Mistakes happen. Farmers have managed it well, they've apologised, acknowledged their mistake and contributed towards how they'll do better next time, but what could they have done to prevent it happening in the first place? And what can you do to make sure a similar thing doesn't happen to you?
Put your audience at the heart of your communications. Create personas for your customer segments. Get to know those personas inside and out and learn how to talk to them best. Peer review. Have a sign off process, 3 people deep. Mostly though, ask yourself the questions your comms is asking of your customers. Any hint of uneasiness and it's back to the drawing board.