Many brands did not get the response they were expecting from their promotional campaigns this year.
Nearly any idea can sound great in the conference room. But when the idea takes form in the outside world, it can go wrong. In some cases, terribly wrong.
Whether fault lies in the concept or the execution, a bad marketing or branding campaign can result in an absolute mess. Here are seven of the worst ones rolled out in 2018.
2. Estee Lauder
Also in January, Estee Lauder released a new line of foundation called Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF25. While the company released over 30 shades of the product, more than half were geared toward women with very pale, light skin, leaving very few options for women of color. Ads for the makeup sent a clear message to customers about who the brand is, and isn’t, catering to.
3. Milwaukee Bucks
The beer company’s tone-deaf commercial landed it in hot water in March. The 30-second ad showed a bartender sliding a beer past three people, all of whom are black, to a lighter-skinned woman. The tag line read “Sometimes, lighter is better.
In June, shoppers were surprised to see a Father’s Day card in Target stores depicting an African-American couple accompanied by the culturally insensitive term “Baby Daddy.” The card was discovered by a Facebook user who said it was the only one at the store featuring an African-American couple.
6. Domino’s Pizza
In September, a Russian Domino’s franchise launched Dominos Forever, an offer of 100 free pizzas a year for 100 years to customers who tattooed the brand’s logo on their skin.
7. Dolce & Gabbana
In November, the luxury fashion line released a marketing campaign full of ethnic stereotypes. An advertisement for the company shows a Chinese model attempting–and failing–to eat various Italian dishes with chopsticks. Even aside from the sexually suggestive content, people were outraged over the depiction of Chinese people as lacking refinement and an understanding of culture.
Gabbana and his co-founder Domenico Dolce have since apologized to the public, but were forced to cancel their Shanghai runway show, costing them millions.