Corporations aren’t exactly known for their finesse. They’re big, clumsy, and tend to make the worst sorts of mistakes when it comes to dealing with delicate social and relational issues. In fact, there is hardly a corporation or big business out there that doesn’t have its fair share of knuckle-headed facepalms to its name.
Now, some of these moments are much worse than others. The fact is, when some loose cannon gets a hold of Big Company XYZ’s twitter and starts posting ignorant tweets, it definitely looks bad on Big Company XYZ. Perhaps it’s not so surprising then that big corporations always seem to get in trouble like this. They hire interns, newbies, and have thousands of people under their umbrella. Without a doubt somebody is eventually going to say or do something worthy of a face palm.
Luckily for the corporations, not only do they have lots of potential people working for them that can mess things up, but they also have a whole team of lawyers and public relations officials that will cover their footsteps. Of course, for us that’s not a good thing, but that never stopped us from digging up these 25 Regrettable Corporate Facepalms You Probably Recall!
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They put SimCity online to combat piracy but quoted a bunch of other reasons like computers not being able to “handle” the game. Sure enough, backlash forced them to release an offline version not long afterwards.
Apparently Coca-Cola forgot that Fanta was created in Nazi Germany due to a trade embargo. When they came out with their “history of Fanta” ad, the narrator quips, “We are bringing back the feeling of the ‘Good Old Times.'” The ad was pulled shortly thereafter.
When JCPenny introduced its “fair and square” pricing, they removed all sales and sold products at their actual price. Apparently, however, customers like using coupons to buy artificially inflated products. In fact, many customers quit shopping at JCPenny because they felt like they weren’t getting good deals.
Note: In case you didn’t know, this shows why deceptive pricing is standard in the retail industry. People like it.
During the hostage crisis in Sydney in 2014, Uber implemented surge pricing. That basically means that as demand increased, the price shot up. They tried to defend it by saying that they were encouraging drivers to come pick people up. Perhaps not surprisingly, it backfired, and Uber ended up offering free rides not long after.
This Dutch anti-piracy group is one of the most vocal anti-piracy groups out there, so when they got caught pirating music for one of their anti-piracy ads…well, it made the news.
Lists Going Viral Right Now
If there were any company that should have been good at getting people to buy things via an online catalog, it should have been Sears. Instead, they lost to a bookstore.
After teaming up with VISA, McDonalds created a financial planning tool for employees. The problem was that McDonalds couldn’t actually figure out how to “balance the budget” so to speak. In effect, they had to admit that a worker couldn’t get by on their salary and just included nearly $1,000 of monthly income from a “2nd job”.
When it laid off a bunch of workers back in 2006, it published a guide called “101 Ways To Save Money” for its former employees. It contained gems like, “Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.”
Apparently they posted an article on LinkedIn about how to maintain great customer service. Reactions included things like, “The only thing Comcast can maintain is profit margins.”
Somehow Sony thought it would be a good idea to include self-installing software on their CD’s that modified a computer’s operating system to make copying CD’s extremely difficult. It also opened the door to all sorts of viruses and a lot of bad press for Sony.
In spite of their success everywhere else, WalMart’s All-American approach to business didn’t go over well with Europe (specifically Germany). They even faced legal troubles because of their employment practices.
Looking for more corporate gossip? Check out 25 Biggest Corporate Scandals Ever.
They’ve been known to run food drives at the stores to provide for their employees in need (stress on the “their”). Needless to say, the public reaction has not been positive.
When they added DRM (digital rights management) to their new coffee cups (basically not letting customers use third party coffee cups anymore), their stock plummeted.
After being bailed out by the government, they came out with ads thanking the public for their support.
Wall Street Journal
Sort of the opposite of the McDonald’s case, when WSJ came out with an infographic to show how families would be affected by tax changes, the incomes started at $180,000 and went up to over half a million. And all the rich people looked so sad…
Turning down Microsoft for $44 billion wasn’t such a great move when Yahoo is only worth $25 billion these days. And most of that is Alibaba stock.
After having to start paying taxes in 2015, AirBnb launched a passive aggressive advertising campaign around San Francisco with phrases such as “Dear San Francisco, we hope you use our 12 million in taxes to keep the library open longer.” The predictable backlash included responses like, “Good job on paying your taxes. We all have been doing it without advertising it.”
The whole #RaceTogether thing was a media firestorm. Apparently Starbucks thought it would be a good idea to have their (mostly white) baristas try to engage with their customers in race related conversations. And write #RaceTogether on their cups. Definitely a where’s-my-popcorn moment.
Susan G Komen Foundation
The foundation released a brand of perfume that almost no breast cancer survivors can wear because most of them are very sensitive to fragrances and can become nauseated.
Note: Susan G Komen is not to be confused with the Susan G Komen Foundation
They don’t go digital because it would stick around. Apparently they were referring to themselves.
When they tried to run an anti-Uber social media campaign called #YourTaxis, almost all of the comments were about how bad the drivers smelled, how late the taxis were, etc.
To advertise the new TV show, The Man in the High Castle, Amazon plastered NYC with Nazi imagery. They definitely had to backtrack from that one.
When they tried to aggressively role out in Canada, they neglected to implement a workable supply chain. This led to their stores being almost completely empty. Of course, nobody shops at empty stores, so Target had to pack up and leave.
Forcing people to use Google+ by way of Youtube was definitely not a success story.
Turning down those partnership offers from Netflix and RedBox really started to sting after a while.