What You Should Take From These 4 Marketing Disasters

Posted by on April 21, 2011 in Business Management, Marketing [ 4 Comments ]

Rebranding and putting yourself “out there” is risky. Corporate marketing failures sometime comes at the expense of a brand, for others it comes at the expense of a company. There is a thin line between flirting with controversy and being controversial. Here are the top 4 marketing disasters, and what you can learn from them.

Blockbuster- Failing to adapt to new and emerging trends

Okay, this may be more of a management failure, but the lesson can be applied to any business unit. Blockbuster failed to recognize a superior technology; they were too concerned internally to understand the opportunities that lie in front of their face. According to Cnet News, “Blockbuster CEO John Antioco was approached in 2000 by Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings about forming a partnership, recalled Barry McCarthy in an interview he gave to the Unofficial Stanford blog two years ago.” This news just puts salt in the wounds. It is bad enough that Blockbuster failed to brace for new technology, but to deny a partnership and have that potential partner go and kill your business, unacceptable.

New CokeIf it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

Probably the most reported marketing failure. If you went to business school, there is no way you haven’t heard this story in your marketing classes, but I will refresh you. In 1985 Coca-Cola was dominating the market when they decided it was time for a change. They parted with their 99 year old formula and decided to “refine” their product. New Coke was launched on April 23, 1985, ending production on Classic Coca- Cola. After public outcries, Coca-Cola decided that they would have to re-introduce Classic Coca-Cola. This story is told to caution business owners and marketers to not tamper with a successful product or brand.

Target Rounders–  Be a transparent company

A few years back Target tried a desperate move to recruit lead users on social networking sites to spread organic buzz about their company. The problem was that this “buzz” wasn’t organic, it was pre-meditated and secret. Target recruited “Target Rounders” to essentially lie for the company, telling people that they love Target products etc…  Target was caught red handed and immediately apologized for their shady tactics.

Gap – Don’t try to be something you’re not

Gap introduced a new logo earlier this year that changed their corporate image, trying to refresh a struggling brand. After rolling out the new logo design with a little blue box, people were left wondering “… why?” The classic brand has been trying to target the younger, more ethnically diverse demographic and this logo definitely didn’t help. Maybe they should let their products and pricing strategy shape a target market, not a logo.  Gap changed their logo back, and issued a statement, “There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way.” Take it from Gap, if your company is looking to evolve it’s image make sure you hire a professional graphic design service.


4 thoughts on “What You Should Take From These 4 Marketing Disasters


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