Most disastrous advertising campaigns

Advertising is the engine of trade, and companies, especially large ones, continue to make significant investments in the promotion of their goods. However, even the most expensive investments do not guarantee success of sales. Recently, CBS network named ten least successful advertising campaigns.

1. A black-and-white Nike video made by agency Wieden & Kennedy with golfer Tiger Woods. The video clearly alluded to the scandal in the Woods family in 2009, when it was revealed that during five years of marriage Tiger Woods cheated on his wife with 120 women. After the release of the video many advertisers canceled contracts with Woods, and his wife officially filed for a divorce.

2. A 20-second viral video advertising the new Volkswagen Polo spread over the Internet in 2005. The video showed an Arab terrorist blowing himself up in a car parked outside a cafe. An explosion occurred only inside of the car. The video ended with Polo advertising slogan: "Small but tough."

The creators of the ad were accused of speculating on racism and terrorism, as well as attacks against the Arab population. However, it turned out that the owners of the famous auto manufacturer had nothing to do with it, and it was conceived by Dan Brooks and Lee Ford who said that this was only a joke.

3. A Twit by Ketchum agency's PR manager. The latter came to Memphis to meet with a client from Fedex. He wrote in his blog that he was in one of those towns that made him scratch his head and think that he would rather die than agree to live there. A scandal broke out, and was settled only after numerous apologies to Fedex.

4. A Pepsi ad with Michael Jackson made in 1984. During the filming an unplanned explosion of pyrotechnics has happened. The singer's hair got on fire, he received second and third degree burns, and was admitted to a hospital.  

5. An advertisement of athletic shoes Just For Feet filmed by Saatchi & Saatchi in 1999. In the add, a black runner from Kenya is put to sleep and kidnapped by  a team of military who then change his shoes using force. After the ad was shown at the Super Bowl, its creators were accused of racism and a lawsuit was initiated against them.

6. Rebranding of Tropicana juice conducted late last year by PepsiCo. Once the familiar orange with a straw disappeared from the package and was replaced with a more modern and completely featureless design, the sales have dropped by 20 percent. The company had to urgently restore the image of the fruit, and the authors of the new logo, agency Arnell Group, were punished.

7. A campaign of a British manufacturer of household appliances Hoover. In August of 1992, the company announced that every Briton who bought Hoover products worth over £100 before the end of January 1993 would receive two free round-trip ticket to a European country. After spending £250, customers could get two free round trip tickets to New York.

The aannouncement made a lot of noise. While the organizers had planned that 50 thousand people would participate, in fact there were 200,000 participants. The company staff was unable to provide all customers with tickets. Accusations of fraud followed, and Hoover had to pay £48 million in damages.

8. The advertising campaign of fast food chain Taco Bell, launched in September of 1997 in cooperation with TBWA agency. The campaign used a chihuahua dog that said: "I want some Taco Bell." The ad was wildly successful, but in 2003 two creative professionals filed a suit against Taco Bell, accusing it of misappropriating intellectual property. They managed to prove that the advertising idea was proposed by them back in 1996, but declined at that time. As a result, the young people were paid $42 million by Taco Bell.

9. The advertising campaign for "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" adult cartoon. In 2007, the campaign reps placed boxes with a middle finger painted on them and electronic cables sticking out. This triggered panic because people thought there were explosives in the boxes and that they were left by terrorists.

10. The brainchild of DDB Brazil agency prepared for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). In 2010, the agency submitted an ad depicting the tragedy of 9/11. The ad portrayed Manhattan and a dozen airplanes aimed at its skyscrapers. It also depicted the towers of the World Trade Center that collapsed in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The WWF did not accept the ad and called the advertisement outrageous and tasteless.

Irina Shlionskaya.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov