11.27.2010

OOPS! When Marketers Get It Wrong

While marketing mishaps are hilarious in hind-sight, we have to wonder - what were they thinking?!  In the case of large multi-national corporations, one would assume that there is an educated, equipped staff of professionals who have advanced degrees in international business and marketing.  I hope none of them have a master's degree in IMC from WVU!

In addition to high-level, high-performing professionals we have to also wonder if these mishaps were done in-house or if the company hired a large firm to produce the campaigns.  In either case, it is negligent at best to release the same campaign internationally or even domestically to different cultural subsets.  We have all seen campaigns that we felt fell a little short for a variety of reasons.  But there is a big difference between falling short and missing the mark. 

IKEA
This one really surprised me.  They are known as the international kings of furniture.  How on Earth could this product have made it all the way through design, research, and then launch? I'm simply going to post the product.  You will see that the image speaks for itself and requires no further explanation as to why this is a terrible idea outside of the native Swedish language. 


Chevy Nova
Who wants to buy a car that doesn't run? That's what Mexicans were asking Chevy when the car giant released the popular model there without changing its name. If you speak Spanish at all, you know that no va translates into no go.

Gerber Baby Food
In Africa, it is a common practice for U.S. food products in the grocery store to have labels containing a picture of what is inside the jar or can.  This is done based on the assumption that most Africans do not speak English and U.S. food manufacturers thought this practice would be helpful. Gerber Baby Food was not aware of this, and ran into a problem, since the photo on their label is of a cute Caucasian baby. We can rest assured that Africans do not want to eat American children.   

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