Mistakes are unavoidable and every marketer makes mistakes at some point or another. Let’s have a look at some of the biggest marketing blunders made by some of the biggest companies:
1. Cartoon Network’s Guerilla Marketing
In the year 2007, Cartoon Network came up with a guerrilla marketing campaign, setting up LED displays in various cities to promote a cartoon.
Somebody from Boston assumed them to be bombs and called the local police. Many local transportation facilities, bridges, and roads were closed thinking of a terror attack.
The head of the channel lost his job and the company paid $2 million as compensation for the emergency team.
2. Gap’s Blunder With New Logo
In October 2010, Gap introduced a new logo to attract new generation customers. The new logo lasted only two days.
The plan backfired as the company got unimaginable backlash from the customers as they thought Gap was losing its connection with what the brand really stood for.
Gap failed to attract the young generation and offended the existing loyal customers.
3. New York Times’ Email Marketing Error
In December 2011, the famous New York Times sent an email to customers who had canceled their subscriptions most recently. The newspaper offered a discount and requested the people to reconsider their subscriptions.
Instead of sending the mail to a list of 300 people, an employee by mistake sent the mail to 8 million subscribers. Some considered it spam, and others were not happy either.
4. Timothy Coffee’s Coupon Debacle
Timothy Coffee offered a coupon or free sample for those who would follow the company’s social media page.
Alas, Timothy ran out of its supply of sample K-cup packs just after three days.
5. Coca-Cola’s Sweetener Turned Sour
In 1985, Coca-Cola sweetened its beverage as New Coke to compete with the sweet taste of Pepsi. People had begun to prefer the sweet taste of Pepsi instead of Coca-Cola.
People detested it as nobody wanted Coca-Cola to change its real flavor.
6. Blackberry’s Tweet Blooper
In January 2015, Blackberry tweeted a picture of its new sleek smartphone.
Unfortunately, if looked closely, the image was posted from an iPhone.
Although, later on, Blackberry removed the picture, the damage was already done. People remember it as a funny incident.
7. Hoover’s free tickets for customers
In 1992, the Hoover Company introduced a marketing campaign in Great Britain. The company was offering a free ticket for customers who would buy the products worth $100.
Problem was that the free ticket was costing more than the value of the product customers were buying. People kept on buying products and the company kept on distributing the free tickets. The company had to face a loss of $50 million.
8. KFC’s free food coupons
KFC offered the free coupons for a meal of 2-piece chicken meals and biscuit for Oprah viewers. Viewers had to download the coupon from the official website of Oprah.
Going beyond the company’s expectations,10.5 million coupons were downloaded and KFC was to give $42 million of free food.
KFC failed to deliver, leading to negative publicity.