Top 5 Huge Branding Fails

Top 5 Huge Branding Fails

At Dezzo, we understand that consistent, clever branding is imperative to a business’s success, and that bad branding is often implicit in horrendous business failures. To solidify the importance of great branding design and implementation, we have collected our Top 5 Huge Branding Fails to keep you on track…

1: Timing is Important

An unfortunate tweet from Disney Japan, depicting Alice with a birthday cake

When it comes to making social media campaigns for your business’s branding solutions, it is important to be conscious of the calendar. Many companies make posts honouring certain public holidays and current events to contribute to the global conversation, but a few seem to miss the mark.

Disney Japan posted an image of Alice from Alice in Wonderland, with the text: ‘A very merry unbirthday to you!’ This may seem tame, but it just so happens the picture was posted on the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombings. The caption did nothing to diffuse the situation, reading ‘Congrats on a trifling day’.

2: Exploiting Emotions

A still from the McDonald’s ad – “Dad” – of the mother and son in conversation

McDonald’s is no stranger to controversy, but in this instance, they totally upended social media. The branding fail in question is a 90-second advert entitled ‘Dad’, which was released in the United Kingdom to much chagrin from viewers.

The ad follows a young boy asking his mother to tell him more about what his father was like before he passed away, looking for similarities between himself and his late role model. None of the descriptions his mother offers seem to appease him, though, until she reveals that his McDonald’s order – the Filet-O-Fish – was his dad’s favourite as well.

As you can imagine, twitter users deigned the ad as exploitative and insensitive, abusing grief as a branding exercise. For many, it demonstrated that the company was not conscious of its audience’s emotions and values, a common cause of branding fails.

3: Poor Puns

Tesco makes an inadvertent pun after the horse meat scandal

A seemingly innocuous tweet from Tesco took a turn for the worst back in 2013. The Tesco Customer Care account posted a message reading, “It’s sleepy time so we’re off to hit the hay!”. This may have been less disastrous if they were not in the throes of their infamous horse meat scandal. It seems that the poor pun poked fun at one of the company’s own most shocking discoveries.

Our moral of the story is that brands should stay true to their values and refrain from misleading their customers about the products they are purchasing.

4: Research is Key

 A tweet by Total Beauty, mistaking Whoopi Goldberg for Oprah Winfrey When making any brand communications, it is vital to do your research! Beauty website Total Beauty made an award-worthy faux pas when they accidentally mistook Whoopi Goldberg for Oprah Winfrey, complimenting her on her unexpected tattoos. Unfortunately for Total Beauty, their gun to get in on the Oscars hype went sorely amiss. However, the company offered to donate $10,000 to a charity of both Whoopi and Oprah’s choice in apology.

​5: Deliver on Promises

The iFloat phone isn’t living up to brand promises in this instance When branding your business and your newest product launches, we highly recommend being conscious of the promises you make. Australian electronic goods store Dick Smith created the iFloat mobile phone that claimed to float on water, they had a great opportunity to set up an eye-catching in-store branding solution. However, things didn’t quite go to plan…

​To ensure that you don’t fall prey to similar branding fails, we suggest entrusting your branding exercises to an industry professional. Dezzo Branding offer turnkey branding solutions to businesses big and small across Kwa-Zulu Natal. You can contact us today to chat about your business’s branding, printing, and events-related needs!