Five biggest marketing fails of 2015

In the modern world of marketing, the slightest slip could cause a major embarrassment that can seriously affect your bottom-line.

In the modern world of marketing, the slightest slip could cause a major embarrassment that can seriously affect your bottom-line.

The widespread use of social media means that there is no escape and before you know it you’re making headlines around the world. We run down the five biggest marketing blunders of 2015 from across the globe.


1. The Football Association’s Sexist Tweet

After the England Lionesses finished third at the Women’s World Cup, the Football Association were in the spotlight for sending an ill-thought tweet on their return. The tweet read: “Our #Lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today but have taken on another title –heroes.” The tweet was removed when claims of sexism were made. Would that tweet have been posted about the men’s team returning to be fathers?

FIFA Twitter marketing mistake


2. #AskSeaWorld Twitter Campaign

If you haven’t being paying attention in 2015 you will have missed the battering that SeaWorld has been taking for the treatment of the animals in its aquariums. The decision by their marketing team to run a Twitter Q&A during this crisis is a strange one. Animal activists, internet trolls and everybody in between jumped on the #AskSeaWorld hashtag to humiliate the theme park and leave their reputation in tatters. Twitter Q&A’s are quickly becoming a no go area for marketers.

Seaworld marketing mistake 2015


3. Bud Light Remove ‘No’ From Your Vocabulary

Budweiser’s #UpForWhatever campaign encouraged beer drinkers to remove ‘no’ from their vocabulary on a night out and was printed on all of their Bud Light bottles. The campaign caused uproar for its implicit promotion of sexual assault. The backlash on Twitter was massive with many people wondering how they had missed the obvious reference. The company issued an apology despite it not being the only gaffe of the campaign.

Budweiser Marketing scandal 2015


4. Coca Cola #MakeItHappy

Social media blunders feature heavily on the list and Coca Cola don’t escape lightly. The #MakeItHappy campaign invited Twitter users to reply to negative tweets with the hashtag and an algorithm converted these into images of happy things. The campaign hit the rocks when the campaign was hijacked by Gawker, who tweeted sections of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf with the hashtag. The passages were tweeted to Coke’s 3m followers with the tagline: “We turned the hate you found into something happy. RT to make people :)” The campaign was duly suspended.

Coca Cola marketing mistake 2015


5. Heinz Ketchup Goes X-Rated

Heinz Ketchup made it on to the list when one of their QR codes accidentally directed to a porn website. The campaign ended in 2014 but unthinkably, Heinz didn’t renew the domain when it expired allowing the porn website Fundorado to purchase it. Heinz apologised to the individual in Germany that noticed it, whereas Fundorado cheekily latched on to the free publicity by offering the man a free membership.

Heinz marketing blunder


So there you have it, the top five marketing fails of 2015. To make sure that your business doesn’t make it on to a list like this, contact us to discuss your marketing strategy, or download your free marketing strategy template.