7 Crimes On Marketing

Friday, October 20, 2017

At some point, you make a bad call. You probably overpaid for an ad. Maybe you tried to shift things around in the storefront only to revert to the previous layout a week later.

Everyone has been there. Here are a few colossal marketing failures.

The Gap
Retailers depend on the holiday season to turn a profit most years. So, naturally you’d want to launch a complete rebrand and abandon a logo that had become globally recognised around November. That’s exactly what Gap decided should happen back in 2010. There was no warning at all. Less than two weeks later, Gap reverted to the original logo after forking out around $100 million.

British Petroleum became a global company and ditched the green shield that got them there. They launched their new starburst design and threw everyone off. Just as the comments seemed to die down, Deepwater Horizon, the largest oil spill in history, threw the company back on the front pages around the world. While it could’ve been bad timing, the rebranding and design work cost over $200 million.

Kraft Foods
Yet another rebranding nightmare, Kraft ditched the logo that had become recognised across the globe for a strange font choice accompanied by an asterisk. Over the course of a year, the logo reverted and many of the policy changes occurred in a way that were much less public. It seems Kraft heard the feedback.

One of the biggest brewers in Australia caused a bit of a grumbling when they introduced an ad that discussed gay marriage. Cooper’s almost instantly released a video distancing themselves from the advert, claiming they had little knowledge of the content the contractor had selected. Sales went down, some customers were lost, and Cooper’s learned a lesson the hard way.

Netflix was surging in 2010. They decided that it was time to split their company into two products: A DVD by mail format which had driven the business to that point, and a streaming service that had previously been included for free. In late 2011, the rollout lasted for about 12 hours. Netflix reverted to their original single account format, offering various subscription options for subscribers. In the long run, it did not hurt the company, but they initially lost 800,000 paying customers in just a few hours.

Taxi Association
The largest cab company in Australia thought it was a great idea to get customers on social media. They encouraged customers to “share their story” using the #yourtaxi hashtag on social media. What followed were some of the worst horror stories on the Internet. Everything from racist drivers, to overcharges, to vomit-ridden seats were fair game. Their heart was in the right place.

New Coke
The biggest disaster in history came in the mid 1980s. In April of 1985, Coca Cola decided they needed to compete with Pepsi. Despite having a larger market share and a more loyal customer base, Coke wanted to reach out to those Pepsi loyalists by making their drink “sweeter” and more like the Pepsi brand. A few months went by and Coke now released the original brand, now called “Coca Cola Classic” which lives on even today. Short term, it was a massive failure. In the long run, it has created the Coca Cola Classic brand that is a global superstar. Quite possibly the most recognisable brand on the plant.

There you have a few of the biggest marketing mistakes ever made. Go ahead and launch that logo you drew on a cocktail napkin. As you learn from everyone on this list, you can always undo the damage later. Hopefully.