Marketing is viewed as a vital business function by the largest brands in the world. Whether its advertising, SEO, or copywriting services, these core activities are heavily relied upon to increase sales and generate greater revenue. But for every successful campaign, there are countless disasters. Here are three spectacular marketing failures for the ages. Prepare to be amazed by the idiocy of the world’s largest brands.
Pepsi Enrages the Philippines
Attempting to increase sales in the Philippines, Pepsi came up with a promotion entitled ‘Number Fever’ back in the early 90s. It was a simple premise, really, with customers encouraged to purchase bottles of Pepsi and retain the bottle-tops, under which numbers were printed.
Most of the prizes intended to be given away were free drinks, but Pepsi had also budgets $2 million worth of cash to reward participants. But that figure would spiral to $10 million after a catastrophic mistake by the marketing company handling the promotion.
Basically, Pepsi ended up promising the main cash prize of $40,000 to 800,000 customers. This mistake occurred because the marketing company randomly selected number 349, which was never intended to be the winning number. Riots quickly ensued and a number of Pepsi’s plants suffered considerable damage after pay-outs were refused.
McDonald’s Fuels Olympic Glory
In 1984, the Summer Olympics were hosted in Los Angeles. Seeking to capitalise on the national fervour, McDonald’s created a promotion whereby customers would receive scratch cards with an event on them. If the US won a gold, silver, or bronze during that event then the customer would win a burger, fries, or drink.
But what McDonald’s didn’t consider was that the Russians would not be participating because of their boycott. The US athletes hauled in an astonishing 83 gold medals in 1984, which as far ahead of their 34 gold medals in the prior games of 1976.
Tesco Gives Money Back to Customers
Known as ‘Fresh and Easy’ in the US, Tesco is a giant in the UK supermarkets industry. However, the brand has plenty of competition to handle from its fellow giants. And back in 2011, Tesco got into an embarrassing price war with ASDA.
Tesco foolishly promised lower prices than every product offered by ASDA. The supermarket chain was so confident, in fact, that it promised to pay back twice the difference on products available for cheaper in ASDA.
Rather than encourage shoppers to benefit from being overcharged, Tesco instead encouraged them to hunt for as many products as possible. Hungry to earn double the difference, consumers took advantage of the scheme. Nowadays, you can only claim back a maximum of £20.