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12 Marketing Campaigns That Companies Wish We'd Forget

Marketing is a difficult job, and advertisers often have to try to find new and inventive ways to market a product that most people don't consider new, fun, or exciting. However, sometimes marketing departments get a little too carried away with their ideas, and the results tend to elicit reactions of "What were they thinking?!" These 12 cases are especially bad for this.

Got Milk?

Wikimedia

Sure, the campaign was pretty well-known and successful in the U.S., but when it came time to bring it to Mexico, the company skimped on the translation, and ended up with ads that actually said "Are you lactating?"

Osborne Computers

OldComputers.net

In the 80s, Osborne Computers were so confident in their product that shortly after the release of their newest model of computer, they boasted that their next model would blow it out of the water. So what happened? People skipped this model to wait for the new one, and Osborne was out of business before the next computer even came out.

KFC

KFC

The fried chicken chain had a "free chicken" day, which would have to be a pretty small-scale thing for them to not lose millions of dollars on it. The problem was, they advertised it on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and people turned out in droves.

United Way Balloonfest

Viral Forest

In Cleveland, Ohio, United Way attempted to release the largest number of balloons ever as a world record, which was over 1.5 MILLION balloons. Of course, what goes up must come down, and the falling balloons caused millions of dollars in property damage, the deaths of a few fishermen, and difficulties in air navigation. Lawsuits were made.

Krispy Kreme

Orlando Times

The UK branch of the donut company had a day to promote their new reward program, the Krispy Kreme Klub. It was called... wait for it... "KKK Wednesday." Yeah.

These next few PR campaigns are just ridiculous...

Starbucks

Starbucks

In something of a misguided effort to appear sensitive to current events, the coffee chain started their "Race Together" campaign, where employees were encouraged to ask customers their thoughts on race in America. This went about as well as it sounds.

Red Lobster

Red Lobster

The company offered all-you-can-eat crab for a period of time, except that it was during off-season for the creatures (meaning crabmeat was expensive) and that people would literally spend all day at a table just to eat. They lost millions of dollars to the promotion.

Communist Romania

The Economist

In the 1980s, Romania's Communist regime aired an episode of Dallas in an attempt to show their populace how awful Western civilization was. Instead, people were outraged at how much better the city of Dallas appeared to be than their own living conditions. The regime would be overthrown years later.

Bud Light

USA Today

At a time when conversations about sexual assault against women has been at an all-time high in the United States, Budweiser decided to introduce their "Remove 'No' From Your Vocabulary" marketing campaign. The outcry was immediate, and the campaign was scrapped.

McDonald's

McDonald's

Let us never forget the company's "I'd hit it" marketing campaign, in which a bunch of corporate executives got the meaning of the phrase completely wrong and ended up creating ads which made it sound like people wanted to have sex with their hamburgers.

Susan Boyle

Daily Mirror

The singer wowed audiences on Britain's Got Talent thanks to her unconventional look and soaring voice, and soon she got a record deal. However, her label decided to celebrate the release with the hashtag "#susanalbumparty." Look closely at that to see what went wrong.

Pepsi

Kendall Jenner fixes racial tensions in America with Pepsi. It's as bad as it sounds.

What was the worst ad campaign you've ever seen?