Adland's 10 by 10 - Top Ten Marketing Mishaps in the past ten years.

#1 Cole, Russel & Pryce launched their agency web site by mailing out a chopped off lamb's foot to their pals and potential clients, but their pro-bono client "Djurens Rätt" (animals rights) were not in the least bit amused and soon the Creative Director had to become the sacrificial lamb; he was axed.

#2 johndoom posted the most bizarre ad for toothpaste we've ever seen and all the collective adgrunts scratched their heads. Why is the kid so amused at seeing his presumed mother naked? Why is she in the shower, yet not wet? Where's the towel? What does this oedipal scene have to do with white teeth? Not a marketing mishap as much as the best worst ad we've ever seen, and it has yet to be topped.

#3 During the 2006 winter Olympics, Adidas sent the German ski team out on the slopes sporting Belgian flagged caps. Someone at Adidas made a mistake when ordering the caps. Instead of horizontal stripes they got vertical stripes, and presto you've swapped the land of Bratwurst for the land of fries. The irony of course is that Adidas is a German company, and should know which way the stripes of the flag go!

#4 Are the Swedish ice-cream names racist or nazi code words? When Nogger - the Nougat ice-cream classic - had a licorice-flavored brand-sibling launch, and named it Nogger Black the Center Against Racism we're mighty offended. Soon the Anti Discrimination Bureau joined in and reported the "88:an" for being named a neo-nazi codeword. That summer ice-cream loving Swedes found themselves very confused when choosing a flavor, what nefarious signals did eating a GB-sandwich send? Come to think of it, doesn't the winking clown logo look like an illuminati symbol? Nogger Black is no more, by the way, now there's a Nogger Mint instead. In a similar naming mistake - Kellogg's named their cereal after a street drug: Coco Rocks. I call that truth in advertising though, as anytime a kid eats a bowl of that they are as speeded as if they were on dark brown crack cocaine.

#5 More naming mishaps, this time dirty. H&M named their tight fitting jeans "Fit Sliq", which in Swedish means c*nt licking. Honda Jazz became "Honda Fitta" in Norway, where the F-word is the same as the C-word in English. Care to drive a c*nt-car? Meanwhile 7-11 in Sweden promoted their hot dogs with the headline "Bite Sale", yes, that's "dirty cock" in French. Keep your minds out of the gutter people! Could be worse, I guess, they could have checked with a web translation gateway and ended up with this error.

#6 In an Absolut world - in Mexico ... the borders would be drawn in a manner that antagonizes the hell out of the neighboring Americans. Miles of press articles were written about this, even here in Sweden where the average citizen has no idea how many states there are in the United States, nor are well-versed in the history between Mexico and the USA, but that didn't stop everyone from having an opinion. Lets be honest people, in an Absolut world, we'd all be drinking gold Tequila and never getting hangovers.

#7Fashion mistake makes Dunkin' Donuts accused of supporting terrorists. When shooting a banner-ad with Rachael Ray, the stylist had a silk scarf from Urban Outfitters with them, but some people thought Rachel was sporting a kaffiyeh - right-wings blogs like Little Green Footballs and Michelle Malkin went on a rampage against the Dunkin's that America runs on, equating the silk scarf with supporting terrorists. A rather hilarious thread erupted here where adgrunts posted as many images as they could find of celebrities "supporting terrorists" with their neckwear.
#8 Dialog Solutions GmbH sent a form-letter to the wrong person, and I chewed them out in
"We want to seed virals on your [insert name here] site!"
, which ended up being used as an example of how quickly the tide can turn against you in the world of viral marketing on the intartubes. The irony later when some of the folks who held said seminars, fell head first into a worldwide backlash when Karen26 went around the world asking "Who's my baby-daddy?" had me in stitches. Once I managed to stop laughing, I listed where this viral stunt went wrong. Karen26, who was played by actress Ditte Arnth, was an overnight sensation even talked about on the O'Reilly Factor. Perhaps the newspaper journalists who fell for the story felt they needed to shift the blame for their under-par "reporting", to the Visit Denmark agency, as they were calling for the Managing Director to quit. In the end, she did.
#9 Adult Swim ATHF LED billboards cause havoc in Boston, MA. Gun-shy Boston did not take those blinking lights lightly, and what was meant to be a teaser campaign soon became a terrorist alert. Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens were arrested, and later released on bail. They called a press conference, which they spent talking about hair through the ages. You can't make stuff like this up. It was, in hairdresser terms, fabulous dahling.

#10 this is by now classic. A whopping 136582 views later, most of the world has laughed at Locum's full page holiday cheer advert back in 2001. The designer got a little too lowercase happy, and everyone read the message as I love cum rather than locum. The body copy is saying something about saving trees, but we're still too busy laughing to bother with that.

We simply can't wait for more mishaps in the 10's! Bring' em on!

Honorable mentions

Woman sues Toyota over "stalker" campaign, because scaring the bejaysus out of your customers might be taken the wrong way. "orgasm" commercial - possibly the most expensive viral of 2007 - when producing ads, securing model rights is first on the list, kids.

The Adidas shoe bomber ad bombs, people honestly thought that the sight of a naked athlete with a cartoon fuse drawn to his sneakers would "encourage other people to copy the shoe bomber". Oh RLY?

The headline: "It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell... Consider it a gift from above"... coupled with a photoshopped image of an Osprey helicopter descending on a Mosque, and presto - Boeing/Bell Helicopters successfully unleashed PR-hell on themselves. Congratulations.

  • Adland's 10 by 10 - Top ten Viral ad campaigns in the past ten years.
  • Adland's 10 by 10 - Top Ten Marketing Mishaps in the past ten years.
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