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When marketing goes wrong (horribly wrong).

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Marketing in itself often feels like a game of chess, one wrong move and it's 'check mate'...

Okay, let's be honest. If you've got a slither of common sense, you shouldn't need to worry that an angry mob is about to adorn your doorstep. In reality, however, there are plenty of famous examples where marketing hasn't quite hit the right chord.

We've compiled a list of the top 5 five marketing disasters that almost definitely made heads roll.

Time for some Chinese tuition?

It always bemuses us how corporations with a seemingly endless marketing budget manage to make such a simple oversight. Pepsi's 1963 campaign in China came with the slogan "Come alive! You're in the Pepsi generation", however someone in the marketing department maybe should have called a translator as it directly renders as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave".

Sony, what were you thinking?

Let's take a walk down memory lane, more specifically to 2006 where Sony's marketing department ran a thankfully short-lived campaign, promoting the new white version of PlayStation. All seems quite harmless right? The problem was that Sony published an image of a white female aggressively grabbing the face of a black female. To make things worse, the slogan was "white is coming".

The Nation's favourite crisps?

2017 was a rather disastrous time for Walkers, especially with their campaign to boost customer interaction. Hindsight is a powerful thing and I'm sure there were many corporate leaders thinking the same. In principle, the idea that consumers could upload their selfies to be automatically shared across the company's social media platforms is a great way to get people engaged and enthused. However, as per the comedic mindset of the Great British public, selfies of some less than desirable characters soon made their way onto Walkers' Twitter account. The likes of Fred West and Rolf Harris probably weren't intended to sit alongside Gary Lineker. Whoops!

Oh, Snap!

I still remember when Snapchat was launched, it was the talk of every high school up and down the UK. Even more so when the platform introduced it's 'Best Friends' feature meaning you could tell if Nick was really interested in Molly, or talking to her twin sister Milly. Oh the drama! Snapchat soon began to monetise the service which meant third party's could run advertising on the platform. Problems soon started and a game called "Would You Rather" soon began running campaigns on the service. The issue was that the ad asked the user a question; "Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?". Seen as the 2009 incident wasn't all that long ago, this ad was certainly in poor taste.

Come on, Bud!

Bud Light's 2015 campaign on their beer bottles perhaps wasn't too well thought through. Promoting a serious offence probably shouldn't be on the list of any individual or business but Bud Light decided that the slogan "The perfect beer for removing "no" from your vocabulary for the night" was acceptable. Either this was a mammoth oversight or the corporation were trying to make light of an incredibly dark subject. We're confident they won't be trying that one again any time soon - thank goodness.

Not too keen on making a marketing blunder? At Dimension, we approach every aspect of what we do with The 3D Approach, our system to ensure every detail is carefully planned and thought through to avoid the less than desirable mistakes you've read about above. Why not get in touch today and see how we can ensure you don't fall into a PR nightmare.



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