Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 Historical Promotional Blow-Outs

Lighting one's personal emissions in a darkened movie theater may have seemed like a good idea to promote a great time but regardless of the laughs garnered at the expense of the well being of one's derriere, these often backfired.

Here are some other good ideas that turned bad:
1) With the release of its iPod line, Apple hit the hip charts. In May 2006, competitor SanDisk launched the "iDont" campaign which portrayed iPod users as mindless animals. SanDisk learned quickly that customers are rarely won over by insults.
2) After Oprah announced a KFC giveaway on her much-watched program, the food chain couldn't keep up with the lines of customers, which led to sit-ins and riots.
3) In August 1995 all attendees of a New York Dodgers’ game received a free regulation baseball. When two Dodgers players were ejected for trash-talking the ump, the angry crowd threw more than 200 of the souvenir balls onto the field, resulting in a rare major league forfeit.
4) McDonald’s gave away 10,000 MP3 players in Japan, fully loaded with 10 free songs. Problem was, many of them were also loaded with a virus. A patch was sent out but the virus caused many red faces.
5) Gerber baby food included their adorable baby picture on the label when they introduced their product to Africa, unaware that since many Africans don’t read, it’s standard practice to put pictures of the contents on jar labels.
6) The CEO of personal fraud protection company, LifeLock, posted his personal social security number in a national campaign, daring identity thieves to give it a shot. 25 motivated thieves stole the social security number, with one successfully receiving a $500 loan.
7) Snapple attempted to take the Guinness World Record for the largest ice pop, made from their tasty kiwi-strawberry drink. The problem was that the stunt took place in mid-June. The melted juice poured from the truck, creating a syrup tidal wave down Union Square and a headache for cleanup crews.
8) Dateline 1992: Pepsi in the Phillipines offered 1 million pesos to anyone finding a bottlecap with 349 printed on it. But instead of only one, 500,000 bottlecaps got printed with 349, for a total potential cost of 18 billion dollars. Pepsi ended up paying winners $19.00, which still cost them ten million dollars. Bottling plants were attacked and many company execs had to leave the country. 
9) To promote a new animated film, Cartoon Network hired two ad men who decided to hang electronic LED displays in several cities, each depicting a "Lite-Brite" rendition of one of the film's characters. Citizens of Boston mistook the displays as explosives, causing the city to shut down major roads and bridges.
10) One of the most funniest moments in fictional radio history: In a 1978 episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, the station decided to drop live turkeys from a helicopter not realizing they couldn't fly. This was actually based on a true Thanksgiving giveaway from 1945 in Arkansas which included a live turkey drop, first from the roof of the courthouse and in later years from low flying planes. Once the National Enquirer plastered images of the event on its front page public opinion put an end to the event. 

Ah, the things we do to light a fire under our efforts...

1 comment:

  1. When companies and governments do this it is a hoot. When I pull off one of these .... well ....!