Building a brand is not an easy task for any business, but it’s necessary in order to be easily recognized and to connect with the audience. All major businesses have put a lot of work and thought into developing a brand and most of the time, things have turned out great for them. But everyone makes mistakes, and we have compiled a list of mistakes famous brands have made.
Failed to double-check facts
Attention to detail is paramount when creating a marketing strategy and many big companies have learned this lesson the hard way, by making huge mistakes that cost them not only a lot of money but also the loyalty of their consumers.
For instance, in 2014, American Apparel had a Fourth of July promotion going on, and in their attempt to promote it on social media, they tweeted an image of the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster thinking it was a picture depicting fireworks. As you can imagine, the company was harshly criticized for their mistake and they lost a substantial number of followers on Twitter.
DiGiorno also made a blunder in 2014 when the company misused the hashtag #WhyIStayed, oblivious to the fact that it was about domestic abuse.
In 2003, Burger King was keen on increasing sales by debuting the King mascot. However, things didn’t go as planned as their advertising campaign backlashed and their market share only dropped.
This was because their ads for hamburgers were kind of creepy. The King mascot was shown in some weird situations, like sneaking into people’s bed and rapping about square butts, which didn’t really entice people to eat their food.
International marketing is very important these days, so translation mistakes are unforgivable. However, there were lots of them throughout the years.
Braniff International Airways launched some finely upholstered seats and promoted them using the slogan “Fly in Leather,” which was wrongly translated into Spanish as “Fly Naked.”
Ford also made a huge blunder during the marketing campaign for the Pinto in Brazil, as the name of car translates to Brazilian Portuguese to “tiny male genitals.”
Another company whose marketing efforts got lost in translation is the American Dairy Association. Their “Got Milk?” campaign was extended to Spanish-speaking countries where the phrase was translated into “Are You Lactating?”
In their attempt to make their products look good and convince people that they are the best to use, some companies forget that people are different and some can get offended by some messages.
For instance, famous skincare brand Nivea launched a deodorant advert with the slogan “White is purity. Keep it clean, keep bright.” As you might have guessed, many saw the message as discriminatory and racially insensitive.
Home Depot, on the other hand, posted an image showing a man in a gorilla costume, accompanied by two African-Americans, that was deemed racist and caused outrage on social media.
Did it ever happen to you to hit send on an email and immediately realize you sent it to the wrong person? Well, it happened to the New York Times as well. In 2011, the newspaper thought out a strategy to get some customers back by offering them a discount to reconsider cancelling their subscriptions. The blunder consisted in the fact that an employee accidentally sent the email to 8 million subscribers, instead of the small targeted group.