Marketing campaigns are a crucial aspect of a business’s success. They’re designed to create buzz and generate interest in a product or service.
However, not all marketing campaigns are successful, whether it’s the product itself or the campaign behind it, some have gone down in history as the worst marketing campaigns ever. So, grab some popcorn (movie theater butter, of course) and prepare to cringe, laugh, and breathe a huge sigh of relief that none of these are your mistakes! Here we go!
The Burger King Moldy Whopper
We see what they were trying to do here, but the King didn’t think about one thing… is ANYONE hungry after looking at this?! Their attempt to communicate that they don’t use artificial preservatives was lost on most of the people looking away and covering their mouths. Burger King certainly isn’t afraid to be bold, but this just isn’t it.
- Hershey Kiss… or something…else?
In 2014 Hersey unveiled their new logo and the internet lost their sh*t (pun intended!). Hershey’s opted for a clean, flat look to their iconic candy, dropping the realistic foil-wrapped kiss image for a simple icon instead. We’re not saying we think it’s the worst logo to hit the streets, but we can certainly see why this emoji comes to mind 💩. The internet didn’t win this round, Hershey uses the flattened logo to this day and here we are, still talking about it!
- Kendall Jenner and Pepsi
There’s no way we could write a blog about some of the worst marketing campaigns and not include this fail. In 2017, Pepsi released an ad featuring Kendall Jenner that showed her joining a protest and handing a can of Pepsi to a police officer. The ad was criticized for trivializing social justice movements and making light of the serious issues they address. The ad was pulled within a day of its release, and Pepsi apologized for the insensitivity of the campaign and Kendall hid away for a while.
- Rocky Mountain Tap Water
While we’re on the topic of beverages, in 1990, Coors released a line of bottled water called “Rocky Mountain Spring Water.” The water was actually just tap water that had been filtered and bottled, and the campaign was criticized for misleading consumers. The campaign was a failure, and Coors discontinued the product just two years after its release. Fast-forward a few decades, and Coors introduced their hard seltzer line, similar to their Spring Water, the spin-off line was discontinued. Stick with beer, Coors. Stick with beer.
- The Ford Edsel
In the 90’s Ford spent over a year and millions of dollars hyping up their new ‘vehicle of the future,’ when the car finally dropped it was a disappointment to say the least. Not only was the car riddled with mechanical flaws, it was over priced when the market was struggling, over hyped by their marketing department, and down right ugly. Two years and $250 million later, the car was pulled from the market. The Edsel has since become a symbol of marketing failure in classrooms across the nation.
- BIC for Her
In 2012, Bic released a line of pens marketed exclusively for women. They touted the pen to be ‘the perfect accessory’ in colors like pink and purple. The company doubled down with a Women’s Day post captioned: “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss.” Yeah… that really happened. The campaign was criticized all over the world for its sexist tone and received widespread backlash. The post was deleted, the pens discontinued, and the moral of the story stands, always survey your target market.
Thinking of kickstarting your next campaign?