Unfortunately you don’t have to look very hard to find examples of epic PR and marketing failures. And I’m not just talking about our weekly Facebook series that curates some of the biggest PR and marketing fails for you.
Perhaps the businesses responsible for these epic fails can take some comfort in the fact that its demonstrations of poor PR and marketing are giving us opportunities to learn from their mistakes.
Related post: PR and Marketing Epic Fails
So without further ado, here are some shocking PR and marketing failures:
The Osborne Effect
The term ‘Osborne Effect’ was coined after the Osborne Computer Corporation, announced its next product but then took more than a year to make it available and still had current stock it needed to move. The announcement impacted sales and it eventually ran out of cash and went bankrupt in 1985.
The PR lesson: It’s all about the timing!
Only good looking customers please
The largest pants available for women at Abercrombie & Fitch are a size 10. When media contacted them for comment on claims that they “don’t want core customers who aren’t as hot as them wearing the clothing”, they did not want to respond. So what do media and consumers do? Fill the silence with publicly available comments from Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, like: “We want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”
Unfortunately for him, size 8-customers and non-customers alike thought he was a massive jerk. Abercrombie & Fitch sales nose-dived after his refusal to back down.
The PR lesson: If you leave a communication void, people will take the opportunity to fill the empty space with negative messages.
This fail came about more by accident when DiGiorno Pizza jumped on a Twitter hashtag without knowing what it was about.
This time last year a hashtag #WhyIStayed was trending to bring about domestic violence awareness. Jumping onto the popular hashtag, DiGiorno Pizza clearly didn’t look into its context before tweeting, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.” This of course did not go over so well!
The PR lesson: Do your research!
Who rules the world?
We were shocked at pen manufacturer Bic’s “empowering” message to women, urging them to look like a girl and think like a man. They faced a major backlash on social media with their attempt at participation in #HappyWomensDay.
The PR lesson: Think. Regardless of your gender.
Happy ‘Let’s Insult Fathers’ Day
This epic PR and marketing fail is brought to you by Steggles, in the name of Father’s Day. This image was posted today to Facebook and Twitter before being removed after many people complained that it was sexist and offensive.
The PR lesson: Even if the majority of your customers are females, insulting men (even in jest) can offend both sexes – especially when there is now a big push against stereotyping genders.