Marketing,  Outcome

Epic Marketing Fails – omg

Last week, I did a case study on REI and how they’ve used Soulful Marketing Principles to build momentum and create incredible long-term success over 85 years…

So this week, I thought it’d be interesting to share some epic marketing fails in business.

I’ve already shared about an epic fail for me at the start of my entrepreneurial career a few weeks ago in this eNewsletter— if you missed it

5 Epic Marketing Fails & Lessons Learned:

1. Remember Gap’s Epic Logo Fail? They changed their logo and changed it back after 6 days. No other company has ever done that before in such a short time— on October 6, 2010, new logo, and on October 12, 2010, it’s back to its original logo. The outcry was because the logo’s Serif and elongated font really made it more iconic and stood out. The updated logo just didn’t scream its brand with San serif font and a little bitty blue box. How could they? (See logo below – Left is the old one they changed back to. Right one was the new one.)

Lessons Learned: Whenever you want to change something as iconic as your brand logo, always test it with your biggest dream customers/buyers/fans for their feedback. Do it in a controlled way, in the form of a survey or other form of connecting with your dream customers – an interview or focus group. Something as important as your brand identity needs to be taken seriously, and pull out all the stops to test it before you make the big change.
Some tools that might help guide you:
– Quora
 Google Trends
– Sparktoro
– Customercamp

2. Pepsi’s Ill-Fated Political Activism Fail with Kendall Jenner – This whole commercial was wrong from the start. She was doing a photoshoot, and sees a protest, joins it, and wanders over to the police officer who’s blocking the protester’s path and gives him a Pepsi. It was a pretty big error in judgment. The commercial was met with widespread condemnation, with critics accusing Pepsi of using a nationwide protest movement following police shootings of African Americans. They immediately pulled the commercial.

Lessons Learned: Don’t make up a protest and use controversial issues in your marketing unless you’ve tested it. Better yet, don’t use them unless it’s part of your mission and brand already. If you’re going to do this, be real, authentic, and sincere. Much like Colin Kaepernick did with Nike. The more authentic you can be, the better.

3. EA Games Criminal Fail – For their new game Godfather II, they decided to send out a pair of brass knuckles with their advanced copies to journalists and influencers. The epic fail is that brass knuckles are illegal weapons in several U.S. states – uh oh. They were quickly able to get them all back- phew. Predictably the game was considered a commercial failure.

Lessons Learned – Ummmmm, before you do something exciting that might seem controversial or you think it’s fun, make sure you have someone on your team do some research to ensure it’s ethical, legal, and authentically aligned with your brand. 🙂 Yet, it’s still fascinating to see how big companies can make epic fails.

4. Safeway’s Deceptive Pricing – You’d be surprised how many businesses use false pricing. Safeway got hit with a lawsuit in CA for its one-day promotion of buy one get one free, where they jack up the price of the one you buy, so essentially, the other one isn’t free. And then several days later, they reduce the price of the original item… ummmm that’s a debacle, not to mention illegal.

Lessons Learned: If you’re ever giving away coupons or discounts, make sure your product’s original price is listed somewhere before your discount is added, or that will also get you in trouble. Pricing and using coupons, savings, discounts, etc., can play a big part in your marketing – but it all needs to be above board—no false pricing.

5. Heineken’s Racist Ad in 2018 – This one is for the history books, how their tagline of the commercial was “Lighter is better,” advertising their new light beer. So the ad opens with a bartender sending a beer down the bar, passing up several black people, and arriving at a lighter-skinned woman. Oh my goodness. It was only pulled, after Chance the Rapper tweeted about how it was racist, and it was a giant debacle for Heinken. I’m sure some heads rolled on that one – yikes.

Lessons Learned – Make sure you have a diverse group of folks on your team or your network to run ideas by to ensure you’re hitting the mark. Especially if you’re thinking about doing something that might come across as a bit controversial. As you may know, controversy sells. You simply have to be careful how you use it because the blowback could hurt your business financially. When in doubt, use your intuition, it will always steer you in the best direction.

It’s summer in Redding, and we’re still enjoying some cool nights, with this weird cool front – we’ll take it. And we’ve got some hot days coming up – in the 90’s – cue the sunscreen, we’re ready.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer and have some good summer fun things planned. This week we’re driving down to Southern CA (Outside of LA) visiting Alice’s parents and seeing some sights along the way. More pics to come!

Quote I’m Pondering:

“Service, and not money-making alone, should be the goal of business. The advertising motto of businesses should not be: ‘Something to tell about anything to sell,” but rather, ‘An attractive way of telling about something worth selling.”

~ Paramahansa Yogananda – Lesson 57 How to Find and Succeed in Your Life’s Vocation~ Self Realization Fellowship.

Two Powerful Mantras to Inspire: 

“My value is beyond reckoning. What the world needs and desires, I am ready to produce and give”

“The bounty of my mind is without hindrance or limit. Nothing can stand in the way of my inspired creativeness.”

(Joe Vitale – A Secret Prayer For Money.)

What I’m Reading:

Eat The Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating And Get More Done in Less Time.

by Brian Tracy

Latest Book Review:

Weekly Photos:

Some wild funnel clouds on our car adventures. Then there’s a beautiful old church we stumbled across while we were in Sacramento last week. And a view of Mt. Lassen close up from our deck. (Love my zoom on the iPhone!) And of course Emma, peeking out of the kitchen island, always looking for some scraps. 🙂 Last photo is from this neat new chain – Mendocino Farms – love their word art and their food too!

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