When Brands Fail

There will no doubt be some updating of CV’s at Dove this week as the brand experienced incredible – and justifiable – backlash from its social media ad featuring a black woman removing her brown T-shirt to ‘seamlessly’ morph into a white woman.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing but you question how this was ever approved.  More surprisingly, it’s not the first controversy the brand has experienced this year with the UK division showing another online video featuring 6 different shaped bottles to reflect woman’s different body shapes.


In light of this, you would think social media teams and marketing departments would be on high alert yesterday but not in New Zealand, where the verified New Zealand Police account posted the below tweet


While others have used these mistakes to lecture and extol the virtues of common sense, we’re using it as an opportunity to look back at some of the other blunders from past Marketing departments

Translation errors are a favourite although probably not for the Parker Pen company who in Mexico wanted to reassure potential customers that their product ‘Won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”.  Unfortunately for them, when the literal translation read “it won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant” which failed to resonate and assure the Mexican market! Mercedes-Benz faced similar issues in China when they entered the market with the brand name ‘Bensi’ – translated locally as ‘rush to die’.  In the same country,  KFC didn’t realise ‘finger licking good’ meant ‘eat your fingers off’.

Twitter not immune to its share of marketing fails … from Susan Boyle’s album launch (#susanalbumparty) to #QantasLuxury launching the day after its entire fleet was grounded or #YourTaxis – the campaign to get Victorians talking about their experiences in taxis who despite the incredibly negative feedback, decided to use (and misspell) Remembrance Day two days after the initial launch.


So we’re thinking of all the social, brand and marketing teams out there today – stay safe!

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