Marketing Gone Wrong: Examples of Bad Marketing

Marketing Gone Wrong: Examples of Bad Marketing

Investing in great marketing can give you a competitive edge; if your marketing efforts are successful… When marketing gone wrong, the results can be hilarious, shocking, upsetting, etc. it is not just important to create a marketing campaign – it is crucial you ensure that your energies are directed at the right things and that you keep your audience in mind when developing those marketing efforts.

But, what exactly can happen when marketing fails?

Man Communicating Through a Tin Can - Voice Lost

Turner Broadcasting

Well, Turner Broadcasting found out soon enough after starting their guerrilla campaign. In 2007, the company installed LED signs in various locations and in several cities, to promote one of the cartoons they create. However, a Boston resident thought the signs were bombs and called the police. The campaign ended up turning into a terrorism scare and closed transportation lines, roads and bridges.

The head of Cartoon Network lost his job and the business lost approximately £1.5 million in compensation for the emergency response.

Examples of Bad Marketing: Kellogg’s UK

While the brand had good intentions, it unintentionally appeared publicity-crazy and uncaring after a failed marketing campaign on Twitter. Donating meals to needy children is always a wonderful idea, and charitable actions often have the added bonus of positive publicity for businesses who engage in it.

However, the staff at Kellogg’s UK tweeted that, for every retweet of their messages, they’d donate breakfast to a vulnerable child. This became a problem because the brand appeared to care more about the publicity than actually helping children – which we have no doubt it’s not true!

The New York Times

Even massive companies can make mistakes… in 2011, The New York Times attempted to win back customers who had recently cancelled their subscription by sending them an email with promises of a discount. Although it seems like a great idea, the employee responsible for sending the email accidentally sent it to 8 million subscribers, not just the 300 that were supposed to receive it.

A lot of people were upset that they weren’t getting the discount, even though they were loyal customers, while others assumed it was a spam email sent by hackers. Even though the company apologised, situations like this clearly show how important it is to re-check emails before sending them avoiding to create another example of bad marketing.

A Growing Email Inbox is Bad Communication


The brand’s intention was to attract everyone’s attention by creating a 25-foot-tall ice lolly in New York’s Time Square. The strawberry and kiwi treat stunt worked… just not the way Snapple wanted!

With temperatures reaching approximately 27oC, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the ice lolly was already melting when it was removed from the truck. The streets ended up having to be cleaned of the melted mush, which just goes to show that you should check the weather if you’re planning on creating any outdoor marketing campaigns!

Marketing campaigns don’t always go as you plan, as around the world many businesses commit blunders and mistakes. However, you can learn from what works and doesn’t work and improve your marketing efforts – and become even more successful!

We want to help you get there, which is why we offer a large range of silicone wristbands to market yourself, your business, and your charity, so get in touch with our friendly team to learn more about our products and services.

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