5 Embarrassing Marketing Goofs by Big Brands

By January 6, 2017blog

Cutting-edge marketing campaigns of some of the world’s biggest brands sometimes fail. And the bigger they are, the harder they…well, you know. See for yourself. Below are some of the latest and greatest marketing blunders out there.

You may not have seen these failures before, and rightly so. As you can imagine, bad marketing campaigns get pulled out of the media very, very quickly. However, bad news travels fast, and with an internet-propelled viral culture these failures are not hard to find.


Bloomingdales’ Ad Hinted at Date Rape

The luxury department store had to issue an apology for their advertisements in November of 2015 because many in social media saw it as encouraging date rape. The ad featured a man staring at a beautiful woman who is looking in the opposite direction. The caption read: “Spike your best friend’s egg nog when they’re not looking.”

Marketing Blunders Ad Campaign Mistakes of Big Brands


Under Armour accused of mocking Iwo Jima WWII Battle

In May of 2015, Under Armor was criticized for creating a T-shirt that mimicked the WWII battle in which thousands were killed. It depicted basketball players, instead of soldiers, hoisting a basketball goal in place of the American Flag. The company promptly apologized.

Under Armour T-shirt Mistake Marketing Blunders


Bud Light’s “Up for Whatever” Campaign

Bud Light promoted a campaign positioning their beer as the perfect beverage “for removing ‘No’ from your vocabulary for the night.” They were accused of speaking more towards a predatory rape culture, and Bud Light discontinued the label.

Marketing Lessons from a Big Brand


Coca-Cola not so great with Russian geography

What was clearly meant to be a snowy map of Russia was missing something important. To Russians, it’s obviously missing the city of Kaliningrad, which was annexed after World War II ended. The backlash from this marketing failure sparked a #BanCocaCola hashtag on social media. This was accompanied by pictures of users pouring their cans of Coke into the toilet.

Branding and Marketing lessons from Mistakes


Republica Parrillera Pilsner Beer

This popular beer company in Costa Rica decided to advocate drinking their beer with eating sausages. Not such a bad idea on its own. This called for a very large billboard as part of their advertising. The billboard works great from the front; however, when viewing from the back it draws a completely different kind of attention…. The photo says it all! Oops! We got more than a chuckle out of this.

Design Mistakes and Marketing Blunders Billboard

The morals of the story?

  1. Be careful who you take advice from.
  2. Research, brainstorm, test, scratch your head thoughtfully, repeat. Don’t just look at it from one angle then rush to get it done.

Make sure you’re getting noticed for the right reasons!