“Coke’s messages were totally unacceptable, creating an impression which is likely to mislead that Coca-Cola cannot contribute to weight gain, obesity and tooth decay,” ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel said in the statement. “They also had the potential to mislead parents about the potential consequences of consuming Coca Cola.”
“We certainly did not intend our message to be misleading,” Coca-Cola South Pacific Managing Director Gareth Edgecombe said in an e-mailed statement. “The ACCC were concerned we oversimplified some complex topics and we acknowledge we should have provided more information.”
Dear Coke, leave the myth busting up to the experts.
In the Italian film “7 km from Jerusalem” an advertising executive who has lost his job and marriage flies to Jerusalem and he runs into Jesus. According to local press reports, he offers the returned Christ a can of Coca-Cola and, seeing Jesus drinking the beverage, thinks: “What a testimonial!”
As insomniacs and other long-time readers now, I am a big fan of Consumerist.com. The site does a great job of reporting on consumers’ (mostly but not always) unhappy experiences with companies. If you’re a marketer it’s a must read so at the very least you learn what not to do. All that said, I was dissappointed to read their list of the Top 10 Worst Marketing Gaffes, Blunders & Disasters:
Edison electrocutes an elephant
Tylenol Cyanide Scare
Beatles Yesterday & Today album art
Microsoft Blue Screen of Death press conference
Calvin Klein amateur porno-style ads
Honda robot falls down stairs
McDonald’s I’d Hit It
I can come up with a bunch just in the last couple of years that are worse than anything on this list.
The Tylenol thing was a PR disaster at first but once it became clear that the poison was the result of an outsider the public pretty much forgot about it, witness the brand’s success since then. The on-going Bausch & Lomb eye wash nightmare is far worse. Last year it was linked to an infection that caused blindness and another batch just cropped up today. This happened because of something in the manufacturing process and the PR response was a nightmare. This could actually destroy the brand.
The Microsoft and Honda things were embarassing but no way are they in the 10 worst. I’d put Judy Regan’s OJ book fiasco way ahead of those two if for no other reason than it was a deliberate and planned effort, not just a mishap with the demo of a product.
McDonald’s I’d Hit It? Yeah, everyone got a laugh over the misuse of slang for intercourse, but it’s hard to see that as a huge disaster. How about the Vioxx or Ambien stories? Ambien got bushwhacked with a PR problem when Patrick Kennedy blamed it for his renewed drug problem, which wound up being a big plus for rival drugs which could say they were non-addictive. Merck currently faces 27K lawsuits over Vioxx and even if they win every one the brand has suffered permanent damage.
Yesterday and Today wasn’t even The Beatles worst PR disaster, let alone one of the top 10 of all time. The band’s worst was John’s comment about being more popular than Jesus.
How about BP having its claim of being environmentally friendly blow up in its face when their Alaska pipeline started leaking like the Celtic’s defense?
Or how about Enron or even JetBlue’s recent problems or GM/Ford/Chrysler continuing to push SUVs as gas hit $3 a gallon? Or NBC blowing rigging a Ford pickup truck to blow up? Or the great Ford Pinto fiasco?
Or KFC and it’s rodent problem?
Kudos to Consumerist for getting historical with Edison and the Hindenberg, but they need to get up to date with their current marketing disasters. You guys are still one of the channels-of-choice for tracking business stupidity, let’s get this list right. Keep the top 3 and the always-wonderful new Coke disaster and replace the rest with some real disasters.
'Meat as a Condiment' Goes to the Next Level With Hardee's(R) New Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger(TM)"Using meat, such as bacon, as a burger topping is not a new idea, but Hardee's has taken the concept to its extreme today with the launch of the new Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger(TM). It's meat-on-meat as Hardee's new burger features a 1/3-lb. Angus beef Thickburger patty piled high with thinly sliced steak, two kinds of cheese and green peppers and onions. The result is a truly delicious and authentic tribute to the classic Philly Cheesesteak." MEAT AS A CONDIMENT?!?!? As a seasoning, sure …
Coca-Cola North America and Godiva Chocolatier Bring Indulgent Beverages to U.S. Market"Godiva Belgian Blends will roll out with three flavors – Dark Chocolate Mocha, Milk Chocolate Mocha and French Vanilla Latte — in a sequenced national launch beginning July 31. Godiva Belgian Blends will be sold in stylish 9.5 fl. oz. glass bottles – in singles and four packs — at convenience stores, supermarkets and other retailers." In other words: Yoo Hoo in a designer label.