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Swing and a miss – 4 seasons of marketing mistakes

By February 19, 2012One Comment

BMW – Winter
The weathermen amongst us may or may not be familiar with the branded snowstorm which recently caught fire and burst BMW into PR flames. I am of course referring to last month’s story about BMW who sponsored a cold front so that it would be named after their latest model of Mini Cooper in Germany. Unfortunately for BMW, the stunt back fired when the cold front was responsible for a number of deaths resulting in some very negative press for them.

With this in mind let’s take a look at the other 3 seasons and remember some marketing mistakes and absolute howlers that somehow managed to get that all important sign off!

Walkers – Autumn
Sticking with the weather theme, lets digest Walkers’ 2010 attempt at generating some heat using people’s predictions of when it would rain in the UK. Sadly for Walkers the campaign went cold once people realised that the UK has a strong chance of rain a lot of the time meaning consumers had an 8/1 chance of guessing winning the £10 prize, as the Telegraph reported. According to some sources the crisp giant were effectively paying out a tenner for every £3 worth of crisps sold! The website mysteriously went offline before its closing date.

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Hoover – Summer
Right up there with the greatest marketing fails of all time and probably one of the  most commented on promotions of all time, although not in the way intended.

In 1992, Hoover launched a campaign to sell a backlog of vacuum cleaners using an incentive of free flights to entice customers. You only needed to spend £100 on a hoover and in return they would give you two free flights – initially to Europe, predictably people began to play the system and demand for the flights soon spiralled out of control, with dire consequences for some Hoover employees. One customer in fact took a Hoover van hostage in protest of the way he was handled.

Kenneth Cole – Spring
Spring 2011 was a definite swing and a miss for fashion brand Kenneth Cole, or at least it was for whoever the agency behind their Twitter feed was. Now it doesn’t quite fall into the spring months but I think jumping in on the #Cairo to shamelessly promote its spring collection duly qualifies it for our final season marketing fail. It was a risky move and wasn’t received well. It’s a clear demonstration of how not to use social media.

 kenneth cole tweet Fashion brand Kenneth Cole hijacks Egypt hashtag to promote its new collection

If you’ve got anymore examples of marketing fails then please get in touch via the contact page.

Mike Jeffs

Author Mike Jeffs

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