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Mimishu1995's avatar

What is the worst marketing campaign you have ever seen?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (23716points) December 10th, 2018

Bonus point if it sounds like a great idea on paper.

There is this hot boardgame on sale here. It’s a tie-in to a popular comic book series. It’s mostly for fans of the comics but the gameplay is simple enough for an outsider to try. I bought it and it’s actually really fun indeed. But my, the marketing strategy for this game is just out of this world.

So I was among the first people to preorder it when it was still in production. I chose the “special” edition as it said, and I got it with some gifts. My gifts: a T-shirt and a shitty card with stock images of the characters and signatures of the comic book authors. Yeah, they did promise a T-shirt and the authors’ signatures, but a card? Come on, that’s the best you can do?

Fastforward to a month later. The producers wanted to boost sale, so they issued the special edition again, this time with a stack of Uno cards! And then a moth later they launched another campaign, this time with an exclusive calendar from the comic book authors!

On paper the campaigns sound like a great idea, giving out special prizes to motivate buyers. But there are two things that went horribly wrong here: first, the prize just got more valuable with each campaign. So for the people who ordered it early, what’s the point of being the first in line if they get less privilege than the later comers? Second, the boardgame just came out 3 months ago, so the comparison is inevitable. Why didn’t they just give out the original prizes of the preorder campaign?

I saw a lot of pissed-off customers in the comment section. They either ignore them or deliver the most generic answers possible. They seem to know they fucked up.

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know if it’s the worst, but one I remember from just a few years ago was Tide laundry detergent showing a mom borrowing her daughter’s blouse and washing it so her daughter doesn’t know the blouse was missing. I mean WTF? A mother doing something sneaky to her daughter? I find it in really bad taste.

filmfann's avatar

Coca-Cola advertised in China, using their “Coke Adds Life” motto.
Unfortunately, they mis-translated it to mean “Coke brings your ancestors back to life!”

rockfan's avatar

Pringles slogan “You don’t just eat em.”

It sounds like they’re insinuating that you do something unspeakably creepy with them.

But this takes the cake:

This ad is 100% real. Utterly horrifying. Only lasted about two weeks in the mid 2000’s, so it shows how bad it is that I still remember it.

JLeslie's avatar

Just remembered another. I was working for Bloomingdale’s in Florida, and we received a huge shipment of men’s knit shirts with a logo of a target. This was back in the late 90’s. It was a new logo they were doing on their private men’s label.

The casual sportswear manager immediately called up the buyer in NYC and asked why would they do that when the store Target is a discount store. The response was, “what’s Target?” They hadn’t bothered to show the logo to the other regions before running with it, and it was an expensive mistake. Within a few weeks the entire line was marked way down and we never saw that logo again.

There are famous examples of bad marketing:

Gerber baby food putting their typical baby face in the product, but in Africa the custom is to put a picture of what is inside the jar. So, basically they marketed their baby food as food made out of baby.

Another famous one is milk translating Got Milk? as Tienes Leche? Which is translated more as are you lactating?

Another, the Chevy NOVA in Mexico was kind of a joke, because No Va translates as Doesn’t Go.

LostInParadise's avatar

I thought the Make 7 Up Yours ad campaign was cringe-worthy, but a google search turned up this link, indicating it was rather successful.

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