Businesses everywhere put in time, effort, and money to create marketing campaigns meant to capture your attention. But even billion dollar corporations with dedicated marketing teams can make mistakes. Try not to laugh too hard as you laugh at these marketing blunders.
1) Let’s Be Honest…
JP Morgan opened itself up for public questioning with the hashtag #AskJPM. With recent public scrutiny due to manipulating world financial markets—and the resulting criminal probes—they didn’t quite get the questions they were hoping for. Lesson learned.
JP Morgan’s response was swift:
2) When Oversight Doesn’t Exist
A Texas mattress company made an infamous attempt to use 9/11 as a sales promotion. As expected, things backfired. The store’s owner temporarily closed the place down, issued an apology statement, and made claims about hiring and training new staff.
3) A Little Bit of Trust
Todd David, CEO of LifeLock, published his own social security number to prove the security of their service. Sound like a bad idea? That’s probably because it was. Since 2006, David has been the victim of identity theft at least 13 times. LifeLock was also fined $12 million by the FTC for deceptive advertising.
4) Be Careful What You Wish For
Much like JP Morgan, the NYPD tried to reach out to the general public via Twitter, asking people to use #MyNYPD in the hopes of getting wholesome and heartwarming photos of cops doing good deeds. Instead, they got photos of cops hitting, strangling, and pointing guns at people, among other things. Whoops.
5) Artificial Ignorance
In 2016, Microsoft created an AI chatbot that was able to learn from humans. Like most things on the internet, it didn’t stay innocent for long. The plan ultimately backfired when the AI, named Tay, started tweeting racist and inflammatory political posts.
6) A Complete Backfire
In 2014, DiGiorno tried using the trending hashtag #WhyIStayed…without doing any prior research. As the hashtag was meant for victims to share stories of domestic violence, the company saw immediate backlash.
7) Don’t Say “No”
Bud Light immediately backpedaled after releasing a new campaign with the slogan, “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night.” While the label meant to promote an “up for whatever” vibe, many online comments said the phrase evoked ideas alcohol-fueled rape culture. Not the vibe they were going for.
8) A Calculated Response
After an angry customer tweeted – multiple times – about her experience with a delayed flight, US Airways responded with…a highly graphic pornographic image involving a woman and a model airplane. US Airways made a statement that they would be investigating the incident further.
The original complaint:
9) We’re Hip! We’re Cool!
Microsoft, in another blunder, sent an email to potential interns showcasing just how current they are with the times. They got the opposite results, however, when those recruits took to the internet to make fun of that very email. It’s not hard to see why…
10) It’s All In The Name
A once-popular candy company, AYDS, tried to promote their appetite suppressant candy. Too bad the AIDS epidemic at the time completely ruined the brand name and made success nigh impossible. A comeback was attempted, with Diet AYDS, but to no avail.
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