Top 10 Marketing Blunders of 2008

Yeah, there’s a lot more than 10 here. What can I say? It was a very good year for very bad things.

(PS: If you liked this would you mind going here and voting for it on Digg?)



The John McCain Presidential Campaign

  • “Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”
  • Has no idea how many houses he (or his wife) owns.
  • Picks Sara Palin, the Broad to Nowhere who couldn’t find Russia or Africa on a map.
  • Campaign adviser and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina says Palin couldn’t run a major corporation.
  • Campaign adviser and former senator Phil Gramm says Americans are whiners about economic problems.
  • “Shutting down” his campaign to fix the bailout.
  • “Lipstick on a pig”
  • Egregious attack on Dungeons & Dragons that clearly cost him the election. (OK, maybe not so much the last one).


Runners Up

  1. Ford features “Space Oddity” — a song about astronaut suicide — in new car campaign.
  2. Framingham State College  uses the word blah 137 times in a 312-word fundraising letter.
  3. Disney (multiple entries): Bans kids from DisneyWorld restaurant; Changes “It’s A Small World” to “A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly America; and Sells “High School Musical” panties for tween girls with the phrase “Dive In” on them.
  4. Woolworths (UK) launches Lolita brand of beds for young girl
  5. JetBlue lives up to Southwest’s parody ad by charging for pillows.
  6. Russia uses smiling kids in tourism ad for war zone
  7. Residents of Lesbos sue those other lesbians over brand name
  8. Motrin gets headache from viral moms video
  9. Butcher’s ads feature “Meat Products, Fresh Service” on naked woman
  10. Hershey asks if you’ve found Mr. Goodbar

Special Jury Awards

Co-Branding That Shouldn’t Have Been

The Alpha & Omega of Over-reaching

Product Failure

The Penguins Of Irony “Oh NO You Din’t” Awards

Previous years’ lists

Penguin seal


34 thoughts on “Top 10 Marketing Blunders of 2008

  1. Pingback: Collateral Damage Blog Lists “Top 10 Marketing Blunders” of 2008 | The Copywriter Underground

  2. Constantine’s is a voice of insanity in an increasingly insane world. They go together like bacon and more bacon. And, by the way, how come nobody markets chocolate-covered bacon. Is the food industry scared it will get in trouble because it will be too good?
    Just asking.

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  9. Literally it’s about an astronaut who gets lost during a space walk and drifts endlessly, symbolically it’s about a drug addict. There’s nothing in the lyrics that even hints at suicide.

    Listen to Ashes To Ashes, the song’s followup… “Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
    We know major toms a junkie
    Strung out in heavens high”.

  10. I think this is a point which reasonable people can disagree on (and believe me, you’re not the only one who’s disagreed with my interpretation). In poetic terms it isn’t much of a stretch to equate a “an astronaut who gets lost during a space walk and drifts endlessly, symbolically it’s about a drug addict” with suicide. Even if I’m totally incorrect (wouldn’t be the first time) and you are totally correct what part of “an astronaut who gets lost during a space walk and drifts endlessly, symbolically it’s about a drug addict” makes this a good song for advertising a car? At least “Lust for Life” (another song about drug addiction widely used in commercials) has a beat you can dance to without being on thorazine.

  11. Oh, I’m not questioning how inappropriate it is for advertising that’s for sure, I’m just a pedantic fan of pre-80’s Bowie.

    And this is the internet… arguing over interpretations of 40 year old song lyrics is just the sort of thing it was invented for. 😉

  12. They’re marketing the car as a personal ‘starship’ to people who were teens when Space Oddity came out. I don’t think they could have found a better space-themed song to resonate with their target demographic. Besides, they’re playing the first uplifting part of the song and it’s a really well done remake.

  13. Now the problem with that argument is — and I say this as someone who is in the appropriate demographic — we all remember the REST of the song. The song does not bring up connotations of success or progress. It is a spectacularly and wonderfully depressing song. It also has very understandable lyrics unlike say “Lust for Life.”

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  17. McCain pushed too hard from a position of weakness against a better funded and less offensive opponent. (That’s what it comes down to with such a divergent group as America-less offensive). Obama was the underdog but didn’t step on too many toes on his way up. His best executed move was when he successfully leveraged a terrific web campaign that let people invest on a small scale. The financial investment was more beneficial in the net results of votes in the end, which was because people are going to support something they invested in and follow thru on election day. Mix that with Shepard Fairey artwork and you can’t go wrong.

  18. Space Oddity is about heroine. If you have ever done it, you would know that for certain. Some drug users (you straight people couldn’t possibly know) have speculated that it was about LSD, but we never call LSD users “junkies” (see Ashes to Ashes). It sure the hell isn’t about an astonaut, you simpleton.

  19. I’m getting attitude from a junkie!!!

    I love it when people who do really self-destructive things act like not knowing about that particular self-destructive thing makes you a loser.

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  21. “lipstick on a pig” was a comment from obama/biden you dumb fuck.
    and palin couldnt find russia or africa on a map? this is not true, and was proven such like two months ago. are both of your brain cells working dipshit?

  22. Pingback: 8 Notable Marketing Blunders of 2008 | Other Side Group

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