Marketing teams are tasked with the difficult job of grabbing your attention and convincing you to buy stuff. In years past, many have succeeded in creating effective and compelling marketing campaigns for businesses. But every once in a while, they get it horribly wrong. It can be pretty devastating. While great ads can lift a company up, awful ads can easily destroy it. This can result in serious brand damage, profit loss, and in rare cases, bankruptcy. You can probably think of a few, but what are the worst of the worst? Here are the 25 disastrous marketing fails that actually happened.
DiGiorno #whyIstayed Campaign
After NFL player Ray Rice was suspended for beating his wife, Twitter blew up with a #WhyIStayed trend. Thousands of women spoke out about why they stayed in their abusive relationship. So, in a foolish attempt to stay relevant, DiGiorno pizza hopped on the hashtag trend, not to share their own story, but to sell pizza. Turns out, the company didn’t take the time to understand what the hashtag was about and just fired off, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” Once they figured out their error, they deleted the tweet and profusely apologized. Still, might be smart to look into the hashtags before using them.
U2 Free Album
Apple and U2 have had a strong relationship together since their early beginnings in the 1980’s. With the release of the iPhone 6, they both thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we just gave away U2’s new album to all iPhone owners?” Turns out, it wasn’t so great. It was quickly mocked online with people comparing it to music spam. It was such a problem that Apple developed an entire instruction page on how to remove the music if someone wanted to. (It apparently wasn’t an easy process.)
Lipitor Malpractice Ad
In a Lipitor ad, a man by the name of Dr. Jarvik appears on the screen and claims to be a doctor. A big part of the ad hinges on his credibility as a professional recommendation. However, it turned out “Dr. Jarvik” never practiced medicine in his life and never held a medical license. Pfizer quickly pulled the ad after being investigated for malpractice.
Walmart Bakes ISIS Cake
A man went into a Walmart to have a cake made with the Confederate flag on it with the words, “Heritage not hate.” The bakery denied his request. Later, the man went to the same Walmart and requested a cake be made with the ISIS battleflag. They made it. Of course, the man was outraged. Walmart apologized, claiming the baker didn’t know what the flag represented. The real question is: What birthday were these cakes for?
God of War II Animal Abuse Fail
To create a lot of buzz and capture the violent tone and feel of God of War II, Sony rolled the dice and decided to throw a huge party with the dead carcass of a goat included. Better yet, guests reached inside the goat’s still-warm gut and ate offal (organ meats) from its stomach. When word got out in the media, animal rights activists had a field day. Sony quickly apologized.
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