Sometimes food corporations really get it (think: Doritos Locos Tacos). Sometimes, though, they have no idea what they’re doing. With strange product crossovers, bad advertising and products that aren’t quite thought through, here are the biggest marketing fails major food and beverage corporations have tried throughout the years.
Dr. Pepper’s “Not For Women”
I’ve heard of catering marketing efforts to a certain gender, but directly excluding half of the population? That seems a little absurd. After backlash from the public (and not just about women), the vice president of marketing (a man) said “women get the joke.” Even more confused? Me too. In a world of increasing gender equality and fights for feminism, it’s strange to experience a campaign like this one.
Oh, Twitter. Just like Bill Cosby’s “Meme Me” campaign, #McDStories didn’t go over with the public as smoothly as planned. With tweets mentioning moldy products, slow service and disgusting stores, McDonald’s willingly opened themselves up to complaints from all around the world. Luckily, McDonald’s is pretty familiar with bad press, so it bounced back.
Pizza Hut’s Fingernail Polish
Apparently, Australia chose to gift Pizza Hut brand fingernail polish to consumers for Valentine’s Day. I guess it was well-received because people actually sent in pizza-related poems to enter this contest. The real winners were the names of the fingernail polish colors, though.
Back in 1985, Coca-Cola Company decided to change its recipe for a sweeter version. Many people complained of the change, which makes it one of the worst decisions in marketing history. However, some marketing experts say that the bad press actually helped Coca-Cola after it changed back to the original recipe.
Gerber tried dipping into the adult food market by introducing “adult baby food”—basically liquified adult meals. With flavors like Beef Burgundy and Pureed Mediterranean Vegetables, what’s not to love? Gerber (thankfully) has stuck with baby food since this 1970s disaster.
Burger King Cologne
No, this is not a joke. Burger King actually came up with a cologne to sell to real people. While it didn’t actually smell like Burger King, the thought of having any type of cologne developed within the Burger King company is a little unappetizing.
Colgate Kitchen Entrees
For some reason, Colgate (known for toothpaste) thought having the same name brand on frozen dinners would be successful. Does anyone else think of that strange, slightly minty taste of eating food right after you brush your teeth?
Putting things in your Jell-O is a thing of the past (hello, Grandma’s house), and putting vegetables in your Jell-O seems even more foreign. Jell-O does not (and should not) make me think of celery, broccoli or carrots, so I’d say this one is a miss.
Paula Deen’s Flavored Chapstick
Paula Deen has had her ups (putting butter in everything) and her downs (…putting butter in everything) in the past few years. Apparently the Food Network star is so known for her love of butter that butter-flavored chapstick is actually selling. While there are several flavors, the butter-flavored chapstick is the most popular. Find it at her store here.