Large companies invest millions of dollars in strategies to attract and captivate their customers. Any error in the execution of said strategies can produce a totally adverse result than expected. Such is the case of companies such as Colgate, Burger King, Pepsi and Coca Cola, among many others, that have suffered millionaire losses when trying to introduce a new product to the market, renew their brand or cause controversy in their commercials.
Below, we share 10 of the best-known marketing mistakes by big companies so you can learn from them. If you know of any other interesting cases, feel free to share them in the comments. Let’s start!
10 marketing mistakes by big companies
1. New Coke
In the 1980s Coca Cola was at war with Pepsi and other cola products for market control. Faced with a dramatic loss of ground in people’s preferences, its general manager Roberto Goizueta decided to promote a new flavor developed for his product and support it with a great marketing campaign (after all, in 1982 the Diet Coke had broken with the paradigm of altering the original flavor). However, the New Coke was rejected by the people and the product had to be withdrawn from the market three months later, causing losses of about $ 50 million to the company.
2. Colgate Lasagna
Colgate, the popular toothpaste brand, launched its own line of ready-to-serve dinner lasagna in 1980. The commercials encouraged people to eat this product and then brush their teeth. The product failed completely on the market and was discontinued shortly after. Today, the product is part of the “museum of failures” in Helsinborg, Sweden, along with dozens of other products that failed miserably.
3. Fox Assigns Star Wars Marketing Rights to Its Director
For starters, Universal Studios rejected the project of young director George Lucas. Later, when production started in 1976, 20th Century Fox executives took precautions in case the film did not achieve the expected success, so they decided to negotiate with the director the marketing license and the rights to the film. aftermath in exchange for reducing the high costs. Billions of dollars later, Lucas appreciates those decisions. The lack of vision of both studies made them miss a great opportunity.
4. The new GAP logo
GAP, a major American textile company, decided to renew its logo in 2010. The classic logo of the company, in navy blue, was replaced by a new version of round letters, in black, on a clean white background. The renewed design was presented on the company’s social networks and fans immediately expressed their rejection with messages such as: “The new logo is not very sophisticated”, “it is horrible”, “go back to the old one” and “I will never buy again in their stores. ” Finally, the company gave in to pressure from the brand’s followers and decided to return to the classic version of the logo a few days later.
5. DOVE’s racist ad
In 2017, the DOVE company launched a controversial ad that caused outrage at being considered racist. The ad consisted of a 3-second gif, posted on the company’s Facebook page to promote a shower product, featuring an African-American girl turning into a white girl after using the product. The rejection was such that the publication lasted only a few hours and had to be withdrawn. The controversy continued and the company received strong criticism from followers, opinion leaders and the media. Although the company publicly apologized, it was not the first time its commercials had caused outrage as being racist.
6. New Tropicana packaging
In 2009, Tropicana decided to redesign its packaging, opting for a fresher, more minimalist and modern design; however, the change was not well received among its clients. After launching the new design to the market, sales fell 20% in one month, forcing the company to return to the previous design. After analyzing what happened, they concluded that the new packaging design made it difficult to differentiate Tropicana juices from other brands at points of sale, thus causing mistrust among the most loyal customer segment.
7. Nintendo’s Virtual Boy
In the 1990s, the arrival of the concept of virtual reality (VR) was eagerly awaited. Betting on this, the Nintendo company launched the Virtual Boy, which in the strict sense of the word was not virtual reality. In addition, the lenses were very heavy and its monochrome red screen caused dizziness in players within minutes of use. Few games were released to the market and it was too expensive for the experience it offered. Although 3 million units were expected to be sold, in the end only 400,000 were sold worldwide. It was withdrawn from the market in less than a year, with losses of 400 million dollars for Nintendo.
8. Heinz’s expired domain
Between 2012 and 2014, the Heinz brand launched the “Pass the Message on Heinz” promotion, which offered personalized Ketchup bottle labels to its customers. To participate, the user had to scan a QR code that was on the back of the boat and follow the instructions on the website he directed. Sometime after the promotion ended, the German Daniel Korell bought one of the ketchup cans with the QR code that were still being distributed in some supermarkets and decided to scan the code but was surprised that it was directed to a website with adult content. Puzzled, he contacted Heinz’s German subsidiary to comment on what had happened. After investigating, The company discovered that the domain is purchased for the promotion had expired and was subsequently purchased by a company dedicated to adult entertainment. Heinz apologized for what happened and decided to give Daniel the personalized labels he was looking for.
9. The Burger King Sexualized Campaign
The hamburger restaurant chain has been embroiled in several controversies for using sexist images and messages in its advertising campaigns. One of the cases that generated the most repercussion was a poster, used in Singapore to promote a new sandwich, which suggestively seeks to sexualize the content of the message. Additionally, the model featured on the poster launched a legal and media campaign against Burguer King arguing that the company had used her photograph without consent.
10. The failed Pepsi contest
In 1992, to the head of the marketing department of Pepsi. He came up with a great idea to gain ground for Coca Cola in the Philippines: launch a contest that would offer the chance to make a lucky person a millionaire. The contest was launched with an aggressive expectation strategy that boosted sales of Pepsi products by almost 40% thanks to the fact that, before awarding the jackpot, consumers could obtain cash prizes ranging from 1,000 pesos to one million of Philippine pesos (approximately 40 thousand dollars of the time). When it was finally time for the final stage of the contest, it was announced that the winner would be the one who found the bottle with the number 349.
Everything was going smoothly so far, however, a mistake would make the success of the campaign one of the biggest failures in Pepsi history. Instead of printing the number 349 once, This was printed in 800 thousand bottles. Thousands of Filipinos were thrilled to have found the winning number, but Pepsi was unwilling to pay all of them. The company tried to save the situation by explaining to the winners that the caps did not contain the correct security code, but enraged people reacted by attacking the company’s bottling plants and trucks.
The bottom line for Pepsi was millions of dollars in losses, thousands of fraud and deception lawsuits, enraged customers, and a discredited brand among Filipinos. The company tried to save the situation by explaining to the winners that the caps did not contain the correct security code, but enraged people reacted by attacking the company’s bottling plants and trucks. The bottom line for Pepsi was millions of dollars in losses, thousands of fraud and deception lawsuits, enraged customers, and a discredited brand among Filipinos.
The company tried to save the situation by explaining to the winners that the caps did not contain the correct security code, but enraged people reacted by attacking the company’s bottling plants and trucks. The bottom line for Pepsi was millions of dollars in losses, thousands of fraud and deception lawsuits, enraged customers, and a discredited brand among Filipinos.
Do you know of any other marketing mistakes by big companies? Leave us your comments and contributions on the subject.
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