14 Dec'17

Top 5 marketing mishaps of 2017

With the end of the year in sight, it seems fitting to reflect on the top 5 marketing mishaps that we have covered this year.

Kellogg’s racist cereal box

Saladin Ahmed, an American sci-fi and fantasy author, drew attention to Kellogg’s racist cereal box design via twitter. The design of the Kellogg’s US Corn Pops box showed yellow cereal characters having fun while one brown cereal character was shown cleaning the floor.

Kellogg’s swiftly replied and updated the artwork of the cereal box.


Dove attempting to reach a diverse audience

Dove were called out for missing the mark on two of their marketing campaigns this year. Dove’s body wash campaign video showed three women of different ethnicities each removing their top to reveal the other woman; the imagery of a black woman transforming into a white woman was interpreted as racist by some. The video was removed and in their apology Dove stated, ‘(we) intended to convey that Dove body wash is for every woman and a celebration of diversity, but we got it wrong.’


Their second campaign that was criticised was their limited-edition body-shaped bottles. Their aim was to ‘celebrate this diversity: just like women, we wanted to show that our iconic bottle can come in all shapes and sizes, too.’ However, consumers mocked the campaign with statements such as, ‘Finally consumers without arms, legs, or heads can buy a soap that truly represents them’.


YouTube face brand safety concerns

Large companies such as P&G, Iceland, and O2 have paused or stopped their advertising with YouTube after their adverts were displayed alongside explicit videos, such as terrorist propaganda videos and film of children in distressed situations.

YouTube have been criticised for being unable to monitor the placement of adverts, and the lack of removal of inappropriate content. Google still have loads of money though, so swings and roundabouts for them.



Uber on continued damage control

Uber’s reputation has undergone some bad press.. Some of the negative allegations include: Uber employees being accused of sexual harassment, Uber face a law suit filed by the Google-owned company Waymo on the charge that a former employee sold Uber trade secrets, Uber have been accused of under paying their drivers, and TfL’s decision to not renew Uber’s license. Following the Ryan Air school of marketing it seems you can be a d*ck as long as you’re cheap enough.

Celebrity scandals damaging company brand reputations


Following the sexual harassment allegations made against Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, film companies associated with the two individuals have subsequently cut ties with them. Weinstein has been sacked from his own company and film organisations (such as Bafta, Oscars and Producers Guild of America) have suspended or banned Weinstein’s membership. For Kevin Spacey, Netflix have fired him from the US TV series House of Cards, thus limiting their association with the actor. This raises concern that companies do not to thorough enough background checks on those they hire, or worse, they hire them regardless.