Biggest Marketing Mishaps Ever

In our new digital world anyone can be a success. Build a website to promote your brand, service or products, sort out a few keywords to make yourself highly visible to search engines and you’ve got it made, right?

Well, not necessarily, if the following examples of marketing strategy failures are anything to go by. From the smallest sites right through to major companies, getting your marketing strategy wrong can have profound consequences, raising your company’s profile, but not necessarily in the way you intended. So read on and resolve to learn from the following mistakes.

1. New England Patriots Twitter Fail

Renowned for their successes at the Superbowl, the Patriots were keen to be the first American Football team to attract a million followers on Twitter. A campaign to pick out random names of new followers and award them with ‘thank you’ tweets and their names printed on team shirts backfired badly when a racially offensive remark was incorporated into a new follower’s username and retweeted by the club.

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2 American Apparel Sexist Advertising Slur

As a young, hip and happening company American Apparel are keen to promote their youthful fashions. However the company has been lambasted for repeatedly sexualising underage girls through its promotional advertising. The Daily Mail dubbed their schoolwear campaign ‘sexist and sleazy’.

3. British Gas Accidentally Spark Outrage

In an astonishingly badly thought-out campaign, British Gas invited customers to tweet their thoughts on the company’s latest price increase. According to the Guardian the resulting backlash of negative comments counts as one of the worst marketing disasters ever seen. If only they’d taken the time to run the idea past, a company renowned for digital marketing in Edinburgh, such an occurrence would never have happened.

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4. Hyundai Suicide Error

As manufacturers of aspirational lifestyle cars, it seems incomprehensible that the company should have considered an advert featuring a failed attempt at suicide to be either appropriate or desirable. It did, however, earn the company the title of ‘worst auto ad’ although this is probably of little comfort to the marketing team.

5. Pepsi Campaign Failure in Japan

Linking up with Japanese clothing company Aape probably seemed like a good idea to Pepsi marketing executives. Sadly for them – and for the campaign – nobody checked the graphics linking Pepsi to Aape: by using a funky modern font the first ‘A’ ended up looking more like an ‘R’, with the overall impression that Pepsi endorsed rape – certainly not the intended message!

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6. HMV Twitter Fiasco

When you’ve got a live Twitter feed then a mass sacking at HQ is never a good idea. Employees – or more accurately ‘former employees’ – gave a real-time account of the mass exodus, bringing the company into disrepute in the most public of fashions.

7. Luton Airport’s PR Disaster

In an effort to plug airport safety in snowy conditions, Luton Airport saw fit to post a photograph on the company Facebook page of a Chicago plane that skidded off the runway in heavy snow. Unfortunately it transpired that a child had died as a result of the accident, making Luton Airport managers seem much less caring than they had intended.

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