No small business owner I know likes losing money. Right?
So at all costs avoid these marketing ideas:
In 1985, Coke changed their formula and introduced the New Coke. Loyal Coke drinkers didn’t take to the change and sales plummeted. In an attempt to reverse the negative trend, Coke reintroduced their original formula and re-branded it as Coke Classic, thereby winning back some of their previous customers.
Lesson: If you’ve got a best selling product, don’t change it. But feel free to innovate elsewhere in other product areas.
In the 1970’s, Ayds Diet Candy was introduced to consumers. The problem? It was the same time that AIDS was a growing concern. To say the least, people were upset about a candy that resulted in weight loss when AIDS was characterized by extreme weight loss and subsequently, death.
– Lesson: What you name your product or service matters. Check it’s meaning, any connotations and meanings in other languages.
In 2007, McDonalds chose to advertise the Double Cheeseburger with the slogan “I’d hit it”.
How is it that everyone but them realized that they were using slang for a sexual innuendo? And, with a hamburger? Something is clearly wrong with that image…
– Lesson: Do your research. If you don’t, you may be saying something about your product that makes it sound bad, instead of good.
In 2011, in an attempt to fund Qwikster, a DVD rental service they were initiating, Netflix, who had a solid product raised their rates by 60% trying to cover the heavy startup costs. And, big surprise people left in droves. Netflix shot themselves in the foot with one of the dumbest marketing strategies ever.
– Lesson: Bumping prices up by 5% here and 5% there typically won’t hurt your sales and in fact should increase your profits, if you explain the increases to customers. Jumping them up by 60% in one fell swoop is going to give your customers and your profits a heart attack.
In 2004, Quiznos took gaining market attention to the extreme when their commercials featured the “spongmonkeys” which were annoying, ugly little creatures that sang a song called “We Like the Moon.” People were repulsed and the ads quit airing a couple months later.
– Lesson: It rarely pays to offend your target market.
Of course marketing hindsight is a wonderful thing. It’s easy to critique another companies dumb marketing idea. Just make sure to critique your own before it costs you millions in lost revenue and a failed marketing strategy.
Seen any really dumb marketing ideas lately?
Add them in the comment box below.