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?)

GRAND PRIZE FOR SUSTAINED ORGANIZATIONAL EFFORT

(tie)

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).

GM

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

Cylon toaster is best co-branding ever!

As us Battlestar Gallactica fans know the persecuted human minority refers to their robotic Cylon oppressors as toasters. So NBC/Universal did the smart thing and put out a Battlestar Gallactica branded toaster that imprints a picture of a Cylon ‘bot on the toast. $65 and it’s a limited run. Maybe the toaster is the 12th Cylon model?

NBC Store via OhGizmo

The strangest exercise in cross branding I’ve seen lately is these John Deere Fruit Flavored Snacks from Kellog’s. Other than harvesting what do tractors and fruit have in common and why would I want to put a brand of tractor in my mouth?

Odd brand placement: Spongebob Squarepants Rectal Thermometer

Best part: “Plays SpongeBob SquarePants Theme at the end of temperature taking.” Yeah, that’s gonna make the kid happier.

For reasons I won’t even pretend to understand the most consistently viewed page here at the Damage is: Headline of the day: SpongeBob Squarepants Digital Camera Is Neither Square-Shaped Nor Made Of Sponges. Its 2188 views make it the 4th most viewed page after my 2006 and 2007 annual lists of the Top marketing blunders and the gallery of grenade-shaped products that was linked to from DarkRoastedBlend. But that SpongeBob headline is like money in the bank. EVERY WEEK it is either the first or second most visited post. So I’m hoping that the Square one can do some more magic here.

Perfect co-branding: Windows Vista toilet paper

When I recently bought a new computer I got a Lenovo — causing me to be named Customer of The Year by the online CMO. I got the Lenovo in part because I love ThinkPads and in part because they made it very easy for me to get Windows XP. Below is a picture of a product that sums up the feelings of many of us. I suspect it may be a better TP than an OS.

vistaTP

Co-branding nightmare: Barbie Rice Krispies Treats

barbie treatWhat part of the phrase “childhood obesity problem” don’t you understand? I guess the underlying message is “eat these and you won’t worry so much about the fact that you don’t look like Barbie.” Gotta say that the pink marshmallow goo looks evil to me.

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War On Terror brand suffers major setback as UK ends partnership

File under: Declare victory and go home.

The words “war on terror” will no longer be used by the British government to describe attacks on the public, the country’s chief prosecutor said Dec. 27. Sir Ken Macdonald said terrorist fanatics were not soldiers fighting a war but simply members of an aimless “death cult.” The Director of Public Prosecutions said: ‘We resist the language of warfare, and I think the government has moved on this. It no longer uses this sort of language.” … His remarks signal a change in emphasis across Whitehall, where the “war on terror” language has officially been ditched. Officials were concerned it could act as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, which is determined to manufacture a battle between Islam and the West.

NO WAR ON TERROR? But what brand will you use to scare the electorate with????

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Co-brandings I didn’t see coming: Dunkin’ Donuts & MapQuest

It lets you plan road trips and find DDs across the country. Adfreak saw the best quote in the story:

“It’s really important for us to defend our leadership in iced coffee,” Scott Hudler, client director of marketing.

The reason I didn’t see this coming? I live in Boston where our Dunkin locator device is called looking left AND right. If there’s not one in immediate view then you are not in Boston.