13 Times Marketing Failed…
We love celebrating a well-thought out, innovative and bold marketing campaign, however sometimes these fail to hit the mark. From risks that didn’t pay off, translation errors to sheer bad luck, here’s 13 of our top marketing #fails over recent years;
- Pepsi – Kendall Jenner: We’re opening the list strong with Pepsi’s ‘Live for Now’ campaign. The ad which Pepsi claim was ‘trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding’ sparked nationwide criticism as it appeared to trivialise demonstrations aimed at tackling social injustice.
2. Bloomingdales – Spike your best friend’s eggnog: This one doesn’t require much of an explanation, a man staring creepily at a women accompanied by the writing ‘Spike your best friend’.
3. Peloton – The gift that gives back: Probably the most recent on our list, Peloton caused outrage with their 2019 Christmas advert offering sending share prices plummeting. During the 30-second advert a husband gifts his wife a Peloton bike for Christmas and she records her workouts in an effort to thank him. With strong tones of sexism throughout, the ad failed to hit the mark.
4. McDonald’s – Filet O Fish: We’re big fans of some of their campaigns but this 2017 offering did not join that list. The adverts premise is a young boy finding common ground with his dead father over a Filet-O-Fish. McDonald’s faced strong criticism, with many branding it ‘inappropriate’ and ‘insensitive’ to use the bereavement of a parent to sell fast food, and we have to agree!
5. Bootea Shakes: Bootea Shakes and Scott Disick showed us how not to execute influencer marketing in this awkward mishap below. Scott appeared to copy and paste the entire email sent from the company, clearly he needs a lesson in paid promotions from Kylie.
6. Heineken – Sometimes Light is Better: The campaign began in Europe and gained little response, however when it launched in America early 2018, the company had a PR disaster on their hands. Chance the rapper hit out at the campaign branding it “terribly racist”, and with 7 million followers his opinions were heard loud and clear.
7. DiGirono pizza – #WhyIStayed: We love a hashtag as much as the next person but context is key here. So when DiGirono Pizza used the trending hashtag #WhyIstayed, a campaign raising awareness of domestic abuse, to promote their pizza, the response wasn’t great…
8. Coca Cola – New Coke: Okay, this ones a bit old, but its too much of a classic not to include on our list. In 1985 Coca-Cola took the bold brand decision to reformulate its adored soft drink, launching the ” New Coke”. The big issue here is that people didn’t like it! The launch caused an unprecedented volume of customer complaints and negative press. ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ comes to mind here.
9. Adidas: In 2017 Adidas sent out an email to participants of the Boston Marathon using the subject line “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon”. For any other sporting event this would have been fine, however in the context of the Boston Marathon event which was bombed in 2013, this campaign screams tone deaf.
10. Coors – Let it loose: Coors released their Coors light beer into Spain with the tagline “Turn it loose”. Translated into Spanish this reads as “Suffer from Diarrhea’, so unsurprisingly sales weren’t great
11. KFC – Finger licking good: Here’s another campaign slogan that was lost in translation. KFC launched their ‘Finger lickin’ good’ campaign into China without doing their research. The classic slogan unfortunately translated to ‘We’ll eat your finger off’, therefore not quite sending the intended message.
12. Innocent – Conker milk: Known for their quirky marketing, Innocent launched a campaign promoting its nut milks, with the addition of a fake new drink ‘Conker Milk’. The joke was lost on some, with twitter users quick to respond with criticism due to conkers being poisonous.
13. Heck – Boris Bangers: Last year meat company Heck teamed up with now PM Boris Johnson to launch the ‘Boris Banger’. The partnership backfired spectacularly with consumers accusing the firm of political bias and pledging to boycott the brand. Sometimes its best to just stay out of politics.