Everyone cannot get everything right all of the time. While that is assumed, it seems as if the biggest blunders in branding history could have been easily prevented with common sense and a second opinion. Fortunately for the bigger companies, when their experts get it wrong, they have the backing of corporate resources to try again. Some start-ups and entrepreneurs might not be able to bounce back for a second chance at it. When Mindstorm sees incidents (like the ones below) happen, we wonder not only how the brand discovery and identity of the company was defined, but also how those standards were indoctrinated into the rest of team. It is critical when establishing a brand to be consistent throughout all mediums, but if the employees aren't all on the same page, it can yield detrimental results. See below.
Check out these examples of branding mistakes still burned into our memories:
1.) social media blunders
It’s probably best not to use the controversial outcome of a high-profile case, such as the Casey Anthony trial, when promoting your desserts.
Kia collaborated with Cheezburger (known for their silly cat memes) on this ad. We’re still not sure what we’re looking at or how it relates to buying a car.
In wake of a major tragedy, it is best not to offer condolences and promote your breakfast product in the same tweet. This seems insensitive and insincere.
2.) logo designs
This is one of my favorite branding disasters of all time. In 2010, during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year, Gap decided to rebrand without any prior notice. The public outcry was so fast and intense, Gap replaced the new logo with their old one after only 6 days, costing them a giant headache and about $100 million.
Neon squiggles. Brilliant. I wonder how much they paid that artistic toddler to come up with that design?
3.) brand identity
Remember Quikster? Probably not. This was the DVD-only branch of Netflix. After severe backlash, they quickly dropped this service due to user concerns. Who is Quikster? How is it associated with Netflix? Should I trust them? We just have so many questions…
By taking out the description of what product you actually offer, it can make it more difficult for people to recognize who you are, regardless of an established logo. By trying to become more “hip” for a younger generation, Pizza Hut only proved just how out of touch it was with both its audience and brand identity.
4.) marketing efforts
As it turns out (thankfully), it was actually a submission in a competition mocking the ineffectiveness of PSAs. It should probably come with a disclaimer as there were some people on the internet who were pretty upset over this ad.
While using sex in an ad may make it more receptive to an audience, sexual assault is never a good way to promote a product.
For more information and strategies on how to successfully brand, visit www.gomindstorm.com.
About Mindstorm Communications Group:
Mindstorm Communications is a full-service marketing, branding, and design agency located in Charlotte, NC.