2/22/2013

A Look Back to 2012 Branding Fails

Just as much as 2012 was a year for great success in business branding and rebranding, it was a year for many big failures as well. From commercials to tweets, some big names in business have made huge blunders that may just follow them for a long time yet and surely setting back their branding a long way. This just goes to show how important it is to be on top of everything, most important of all those that involve things that could stick with your name for years to come. There is no learning unless we look back and find out about the mistakes of the past, so here are a few of the branding fails of the year 2012.

KitchenAid Tweet Disaster. KitchenAid showed just how dangerous it is to be careless with social media when one of its tweeters accidentally posted an offensive tweet about Obama using the brand handle instead of a personal one. In this case we see that despite how quickly you can take down a horrible post, a single copy or screenshot will effectively ensure that your blunder is forever marked in the Internet. The only thing you can do in this case is damage control, but for future cases, prevention would be the best alternative.

Indian Hitler. Piggybacking on another famous name has long been in practice when it comes to business, but “Hitler” in Ahmedabad, India takes things to a whole new level. The owners might think otherwise, but it’s altogether a bad move to use the name of one of, if not the most hated men in the world for a business. In this case, the outrage is due to people feeling as if the owners are trivializing the evil that Hitler had done, taking advantage of the controversy in order to make a profit. That’s pretty much what they did, actually.

Image from http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/hitler-clothing-store-in-india-causes-uproar/article4507530/?service=mobile
PETA’s Vegan Ad. PETA may have intended for their ad to encourage people to go vegan with promises of a better sex life, but what most people got from their poorly conceptualized advertisement is “tolerance for domestic abuse”. The commercial was counterproductive and poorly received by both vegan and meat-eaters alike, and there wasn’t a lot of point to it in the end. Unless PETA was merely looking for controversy and any kind of attention, they probably could have released a more thought-out ad.

Sexist Bic Pens. Gender-specific products are not unusual when it comes to personal hygiene, toiletries, and the like. However, Bic thought it was a good idea to introduce a pen that’s made specifically for women, which is even “designed to fit comfortably in women’s hands”. Far from the applause and amazement their marketers may have been expecting, the pen was naturally received with much criticism, sarcasm, and even a funny segment in Ellen. The famous talk show host shares the best way to use the Bic For Her pens:  “When you have an opinion, write it down on a piece of paper, and then crumple it up and throw it away, because no one cares what we think, sweetie.” 

Image from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/bic-her-pens-deluged-sarcastic-reviews-amazon-143145
The Olympics Logo. One of the biggest events in 2012 was undoubtedly the London Olympics, and its logo surely did garner a lot of both good and bad attention. The question is, was the London Olympics logo really so bad after all? When it all comes down to it, the answer to that may just boil down into personal preference and how one interpreted the supposed meanings behind the logo. In the end, the 2012 Olympics was a huge success, and the world is excited for the next one in 2016.

Image from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/london-2012-olympic-logo-was-it-really-so-bad-after-all-142610
Now that we have looked back into the blunders of the past, it is now up to you to avoid making blunders of your own for 2013. It’s entirely up to you whether your name will be on the list of the “successes” or the list of “failures” when it comes to branding.

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