We all know how much money our favorite brands make. However, even the most reputed of companies make marketing blunders which they have to pay to for in many ways. The reasons for this can be many. Starting right from bad campaign strategy to a wrong timing of marketing to simply bad luck, even the biggest of the companies have to pay for bad marketing in terms of money and embarrassment.
As customers, we often think that we are perhaps only cogs in the wheel that drives a huge multinational company. We have the feeling that no matter what the ad says, we always end up profiting the company in one way or the other. However, trust us on this, which is not the case all the time. Certain times, mistakes happen even in the board meetings that consist of the most intelligent brains, because that is what humans do. We make mistakes.
Following are 5 such examples of bad marketing and ad strategy by our favorite companies that resulted in huge losses and embarrassment to the companies. Take a look:
#1. Electrolux Slang
Use of an unintentional word that was slang in the US led to the doom of giant electronics company Electrolux. The Swedish company came out with a new range of vacuum cleaners in the US but sadly, the advertisement that they printed in the newspapers brought out a lot of shame for them. The company tried to catalyze the sales of its product under the tagline ‘Nothing Sucks Like Electrolux’. When the vacuum cleaners were marketed in the US under this tagline, it brought out a lot of embarrassment and loss in sales for the electronics giants because of the use of slang in it which is considered to be derogatory in the US.
(Image Courtesy: Gabriella Ferenczi)
#2. KFC Free Chickens
In an unusual offer on a TV show called Oprah, which was indeed one the most popular shows in the US, KFC promised viewers a free coupon for a 2-piece chicken meal with two individual sides and a biscuit. The users only needed to download the coupon from the Oprah website. KFC felt doomed when millions of people downloaded 10.5 million coupons and rushed to their counters to collect their free treat across the US. KFC gave away almost $42 million free food, still couldn’t deliver what it had offered, and it even led to mini-riots. Later, KFC had to apologize to Oprah and the customers. How come someone couldn’t do such simple calculation before giving hype to such campaign?
(Image Courtesy: Gawker)
#3. New Coke
Coca-Cola enjoyed the monopoly of its sector until a rival in Pepsi-Cola snatched away a large part of its consumers. As a repercussion, the company promised to launch a newer version of the traditional soft drink that is loved around the world. Coke purists eagerly waited for the ‘New Coke’ as it became the most awaited product among customers. However, the new product was a huge disaster and because of the huge anticipation due to a lot of marketing prior to its release, many people shifted their loyalties to their rivals Pepsi. The New Coke remains to be the only example of bad marketing strategy by the company, and also a strong reason for their rivals Pepsi’s increased sales.
(Image Courtesy: CBS News)
#4. McDonald’s Free Olympics Treat
It’s a marketing blunder that dates back to 1984, when McDonald’s started “If the U.S. wins, you win!” promotion under which they promised to give free burger, snack, and drinks for every medal US wins. But, they ignored a few things like Germany and Russia, two badass counties were sitting out of the sports event, and that could increase the share of medals for the US. That year, 178 medals with 83 gold came home, and then McDonald’s realized that this marketing plan backfired, and did a huge financial damage to the brand.
(Image Courtesy: Daily Mail)
#5. Calvin Klein’s Sex Sells
Calvin Klein’s instinct to exploit ‘sex sells’ wasn’t something that seemed odd to the public. However, that was until the American fashion designer showcased half-naked bodies of minors with a lot of clinging on billboards and TV. He thought sexuality of minors would sell for more, but it was taken very seriously by the parents. After a lot of boycotts, FBI launched an investigation into the matter and ultimately, the company had to withdraw the advertisement.
(Image Courtesy: inquisitr.com)
(Featured Image Courtesy: Entrepreneur)