We all make mistakes, but it quickly becomes a viral sensation when it comes from the people we look up to, like celebrities and influencers. Especially if you don't look up to them, one mistake can cost them a lot of money and power. Sometimes it's funny and we can laugh it off as a joke, but other times it's more serious and potentially offensive (see Stefano Gabbana of Dolce and Gabbana). If you want to see some of the biggest marketing fails of our time you need to keep scrolling.
Oprah Makes A Slight Error
This one is probably the reason we all know to be careful when talking about certain products online using other devices. Back in the day, when the internet was still but a child, Oprah reported on her love for the Microsoft Surface...from her iPad.
While she was probably being serious about it, it's clear that she wasn't impressed enough to use it for her own daily activities as shown by the obvious watermark for her device. Gotta love the internet.
Sunny Co. Goes Viral
In an attempt to promote their new swimsuit in anticipation of the new Baywatch movie, the Sunny Co. swimsuit company made a giveaway to those fans who managed to repost and tag the company within 24 hours.
Unfortunately for them, the post went viral within hours and they were unable to keep up with the demands of the fans. They ended up with an inbox full of angry messages from people who were afraid they weren't going to get their merch in time for the movie premiere.
A Copy Paste Job
Influencers all over the world work with other companies who promote them and pay them to advertise their brand on the influencer's media. But when it came to Scott Disick, things were a bit too obvious in promoting Bootea Shake Protein Powder.
Normally an influencer would post the advertisement in a way that it sounds like it's coming directly from them. However, as you can see, someone clearly wrote it for him and he wasn't attentive enough to erase the whole message that was sent to him.
Little Mix Perfume
Scott Disick and Bootea Shake are not the only ones with a copy and paste problem. A similar scenario happened when the girl group Little Mix wanted to post about their new advertisement on the sides of taxis.
They wanted to show their surprise and how surreal it felt to have their group name and new perfume advertised to the world, but, obviously, they weren't going to actually be surprised by this. Too bad they spoiled the illusion to the tons of fans following them on Instagram.
Naomi Campbell Joins The Crew
Apparently, there are plenty of instances of celebrities and influencers copy and pasting their sponsorship deals. Even the great Naomi Campbell isn't immune to making a mistake like this.
When she was given a deal by Adidas, she decided to be extra lazy about her caption. She copy and pasted the whole message sent to her, but even the message says to write something along the lines of what he wrote, not to just copy what he said. Is it so hard to write a thank you sentence?
Ramona Singer Makes The Same Mistake
You'd think that after all of these copy and past jobs that people would learn their lesson. Not so, and as you'll see, Ramona Singer made it even worse than Naomi Campbell.
Basically, she was also supposed to put her own input into her post. Well, she did, but not until she copied and pasted a whole essay's worth of information, instructions included.
Vera Bradley's Modern Vintage Ad
Vera Bradley had it rough when they were trying to celebrate women. They had a few ads out with the hashtag #itsgoodtobeagirl. Unfortunately, they didn't foresee that their advertisements wouldn't be taken very lightly. Because "giving and receiving compliments on a cute tote" makes it good to be a girl.
Despite their attempt at trying to celebrate women, they ironically made some pretty stereotypical ads that would have been more at home in the 1960s. With ads such as "That moment when a gentleman offers you his seat" and "
having NEEDING 5 shades of red lipstick" they really just portrayed women as materialistic and also assigned their baggage a gender.
Warburton's Furry Campaign
If you don't know what being a furry is, the short answer is that it's a communal trend in which some people like to dress up and interact as anthropomorphized animals. As they aren't a small community, they have several hashtags on several different media channels.
The British baking company Warburton's must have missed the memo, however, because they inadvertently hijacked one of the hashtags used by the furry community. To be fair, the only way they could know #CrumpetCreations were used by furries was to look it up, but they ended up not doing so and made history for it.
Nomadica Wine Paints The Town
Nomadica Wine once painted the town pink in a promotion for their canned rose wine. The problem with that was that they didn't bother to ask the neighbors whether or not they were okay with that.
They partnered with Matty Mo, a famous artist, to paint these houses pink. Maybe they thought that gave them a pass. Apparently, the Pico Neighborhood Council members were also unhappy with the project due to the lack of warning and were looking to have the houses repainted.
Dolce And Gabbana Thin Ideals
One time the famous clothing brand Dolce and Gabbana released a shoe that they hoped would tailor to the most fashion-forward people. Unfortunately, they ended up indirectley shaming those who weren't thin since their shoe stated "I'M THIN & GORGEOUS" on the side.
Not only was this shoe inaccessible to those who weren't of this thin ideal, but it was made worse when co-founder Stefano Gabbana directly attacked those who disagreed with the message. He said things like "darling you prefer to be fat and full of cholesterol ??? I think u have a problem" and called others idiots for their body positivity.
Clothing Factory Ad
The clothing brand Reformation had an ad on their Instagram which really shows the power of imagery and framing. They were promoting their Guava Dress by having the model pose in the factory where it was supposedly made.
"Hot out the factory," they said. Unfortunately, it didn't sit well with consumers. This is probably due to the fact that it looks like she's posing in a sweat shop while the workers toil away with the dresses. Poor taste.
KK T-Shirt Promotion
Kylie and Kendall Jenner have also had their fair share of advertisement controversies to pile on top of the rest. They were promoting some of their wearable gear with imagery of dead musical artists with their faces superimposed over them.
The likes of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. appeared on the shirt, but they hadn't gotten the permission of the families to use their likeness to sell their t-shirts. The latter's mother even posted a response to this misuse of her son's death to make some money.
Kendall Jenner Pepsi Commercial
That was not the only time Kendal had flubbed a marketing stunt. When she was sponsored by Pepsi, the two brands staged a Black Lives Matter rally to sell the product. What could go wrong? Well, by the end of the commercial, we see Kendall handing one of the police officers a can of Pepsi before continuing to participate.
The commercial drew backlash from people all over the world with none other than Martin Luther King, Jr.'s own daughter making a statement with a photo of him confronting the police: "If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi".
Kim Kardashian Forgets The Details
The Jenners are not the only ones in their family that have faced their share of marketing fails. Kim has also faced a few issues in her time. Take her sponsorship from Diclegis as an example.
The first time she uploaded a photo of the morning sickness pill she forgot to include the potential side-effects in the post itself, a big no-no in the FDA. She subsequently had to make a new post to fix the confusion.
Kim's Earlier Sponsorship
That's not the only time that Kim Kardashian had made an embarrassing mistake. Though maybe it's a bit harsh to call this one a mistake, but it is still slightly embarrassing to look back on this one.
Back in 2012, Kim had made a deal with Charmin and was given the opportunity to be the first to unlock their holiday pop-up toilets in Times Square. For a time her likeness was the face of Charmin's toilet paper, though we guess everyone has to start off somewhere.
If you thought that was all we had on Kim Kardashian, think again. This time, she was completely called out for a mistake that she made asking for her favorite foundation to be brought back into production.
It's awesome that she was able to get Armani to comply with her request, but the best part is that they were totally ready to call her out on misspelling the founder's name. For one of the biggest influencers talking to one of the most famous brands, it's cringy to see something like this happen.
Brad Pitt Pringles Commercial
Speaking of starting off somewhere, Brad Pitt also had a good run in his early days (like 240p early days). When he worked with Pringles on one of their commercials, he signed up to basically objectify women.
The idea was basically that you would get a bunch of beautiful women to show up and help you when your car runs out of gas and you have no more Pringles because, apparently, this delicious snack was equivalent to a chick magnet.
Z Palette Bullies Customers
Z Palette is a company that makes accessories for makeup. They made a machine that can depot makeup, a process that removes the pans of makeup from their original packaging to be placed into a more convenient package.
However, when customers complained about their price tag, they decided to go on the attack and ridicule people for either being too poor to afford the product or being stupid for not using a real depotter rather than homemade solutions. To make matters worse, their "apology" was really them playing the victims.
Colourpop Makes Racist Products
When the makeup brand Coulourpop released their new "sculpting stix" people were hoping for some great new highlighters and contours. What they got instead were product names with hints of racism.
Some of the names included "yikes" and "typo" for some of the darker skin tones, implying that having darker skin is a mistake. Obviously, people were not happy about this and began to boycott the product.
Lime Crime Facilitates Crime
Lime Crime, a company that produces vegan makeup and hair coloring products, was hacked way back in 2015. They let people know through their Facebook and Instagram about the attack and that they were doing what they can to fix the problem. Sounds responsible of them, no?
In truth, people had been reporting to them about the possibility that they were hacked in October 2014 and some people even reported losses of $4000. In response, they told consumers that they were working on it, but they ended up shifting the blame elsewhere when it was really their responsibility to update their systems to avoid such disasters.
Ruffles Makes A Bad Joke
Ruffles had tried once to make a clever joke related to vegetarians and vegans for their use of tofu turkey for Thanksgiving meals. For a "limited time never" costumers could purchase their "tofu-urkey" chips.
Needless to say, the vegan and vegetarian communities were not happy about this and actually attempted to boycott the chip brand. They have since deleted the tweet and have learned not to mess with people's dietary choices.
No Gurlz Allowed
The clothing brand Benetton had attempted once to promote their boy's clothing with a "cute" little caption that read "Sorry ladies. Girls not allowed!". This kind of thing is only cute when a group of four-year-old boys write that so their little sister can't interfere.
They are not four-year-old boys, though. They are adults at a company that is trying to sell clothing to the public. People were not happy with their sexist message and made sure to give them a piece of their minds.
In the wake of the California wildfires, there were plenty of influencers looking to turn it into an opportunity to gain followers and like because they can. They didn't care about all the homes and lives lost.
Amongst the many pictures of the devastation, there were plenty of selfies and sexually suggestive images to go around. Many of the captions expressed their support, but it was hard to look past the smiles and booties that filled the screen.
Pewdiepie "Death To All Jews" Scandal
Pewdiepie prides himself on being an eccentric comedian with one of the biggest followings on the internet. After all, he was the number one subscribed to channel on YouTube for a long time. He isn't without his share of scandals, however.
There was a time he hired a couple of men using an online service to see if they'd actually hold up a sign with the words "death to all Jews". It was meant to be a joke and he didn't think they'd actually do it, but by featuring it on one of his videos he made sure everyone would be wary when consuming his content.
Katie Price Snickers Flub
There was a time where Katie Price was sponsored by Snickers for their "you're not you when you're hungry" campaign. The problem is that no one understood what it was for since there was no mention of the sponsor.
She took to Twitter and uncharacteristically wrote "Great news about China's latest GDP figures!!" To be fair, it's a lot funnier not knowing that she was sponsored only to understand later what the post was about, but it just didn't work out because that's not how sponsors work.
Oreo Cream Lick Challenge
Similarly to Katie Price, Dan and Phil from the YouTube channel AmazingPhil were also put on the spot for not mentioning that they were being sponsored by anyone. In this case, it was the Oreo parent company Mondelez.
They uploaded a video in which the two raced to see who could lick the cream from an Oreo faster. But because they failed to mention their sponsorship, they broke their contractual obligations and the video was subsequently removed.
Pocket Like It's Hot
Does anyone remember that commercial where Snoop Dogg did a remix to his song Drop it Like it's Hot? Yes, that was a thing and it is a sight to behold.
It was basically a music video where he would sing the remixed version of the song with girls in short shorts (because sex sells) and a hot pocket mascot dressed as a pimp. We ask ourselves "why?" all the time.
There's no shortage of interesting Asian workout products that makes you wonder if they actually work, so seeing the Facial Fitness Pao was certainly not a surprise. The hired actor, on the other hand, was.
It was Cristiano Ronaldo, amongst others, that really stood out in the commercial. Although he didn't take part in the facial exercise (we don't blame him, it looks oddly suggestive), it was still strange seeing him in the commercial at all.
Lil Wayne Goes Down Strapped
Speaking of suggestive themes, this one is both overly suggestive and understandably suggestive at the same time. We get it because it's an ad for condoms, but on the other hand, it seems a bit much.
It was also supposed to highlight the injustice and racism in the police force, but what we ended up getting was Lil Wayne bent over a car with a white officer standing behind him. Enough said.
Ashton Kutcher's Tasteless Partnership
You'd think that racism would be easy to spot before releasing an advertisement to the world, but it seems like the editor over at Popchips seems to have missed the mark this time around.
Worse yet was Ashton Kutcher's willingness to participate in the commercial as a Bollywood actor wearing brown face (an even easier to spot mistake!!) and putting on an offensive Indian accent.
Everything about this event raised red flags, but, with all the hype that it got, people seemed to be pretty willing to shrug it off. This went down in history as one of the biggest scams ever to happen.
It seems their advertisements lacked any sort of effort as well since this was literally just an orange square. It's really unfortunate too because it almost seems like they really wanted this to work. In the end, it didn't, but there's a great documentary about it available now.
In an effort to promote their new sunglasses with a camera installed, Snapchat hired Luka Sabbat to post a bunch of pictures of himself using their "Snapchat Spectacle".
The problem? Well, first of all, he didn't end up wearing them at fashion week like they requested, which they sued him for. But the bigger problem, arguably, was that they didn't promote this on their own app, but rather their biggest competitor's app, Instagram. They were exposed for that in the process.
Sara Helshamy Lies To The World
Sarah Helshemy was hired by Huawei, a Chinese phone company, while she was in Egypt to promote their new (at the time) Nova 3 phone. She was simply supposed to take a selfie and upload it using the phone.
In a behind-the-scenes photo, however, it showed them using a DSLR to take the photo instead. You'd think it wouldn't be hard, so maybe she just wanted a good photo of her as to not ruin her image. She deleted the photo but by the time she took it down it was too late.
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
This one is more of an odd one than a fail, but does that really matter? This I Can't Believe It's Not Butter commercial features Ozzy Osbourne living together with Ozzy Osbourne and they're making some food.
If this isn't an odd enough combination to you you need to remember that this man once ate a live bat on stage. Maybe he wasn't really the perfect choice for the commercial.
Elle Darby Cancels Influencers
When Elle Darby had a five-night stay at the famous Moose Cafe in Dublin, she attempted to get her stay payed for through exposure on her channel. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the owner of the hotel.
He replied with an extensive letter to Elle (whom he did not name) and it was honestly baller. He only answered her question at the end in a post script message with a simple "the answer is no". He refused thereafter to allow any influencers into his hotel.
Aggie Lal Scams Her Followers
Aggie Lal at the time of this scandal had nearly a million followers on her travel-based Instagram. She was also a successful travel blogger, so when she opened up a Master Class to teach others her tricks, it seemed too good to be true. In exchange for the class, she asked for a small fee of...$500 dollars.
After the class, users reported it to be highly disappointing with some going as far as to call it a scam. She stated that the price was supposed to be "a little 'painful' so it feels like an investment and will discourage people who are not serious..." Or, she could just let everyone participate at a lower cost and if it wastes their money it's not her problem.
Logan Paul's Infamous Trip To Aokigahara
Perhaps one of the biggest controversies on our list, this was a video of (at the time) super influencer Logan Paul travelling to Japan and taking a trip in their "suicide forest" Aokigahara. It's not literally meant to be a suicide forest, but because of the rates of suicide there, it earned the name.
True to its name, Logan did find a hanged body and used the opportunity to ruin his career by disrespecting the deceased man. He pretended like he wasn't ever trying to find a dead person, but we all know that was the obvious intent. People are restricted from even entering in the first place.
Lori Laughlin Bribes USC
Lori Laughlin of the sitcom Full House had to serve two months in prison and pay a $150,000 fine for bribing The University of Southern California into letting her daughters in on the rowing team--a sport which they have never even participated in.
Her daughters' influence went down because of this and were dropped by many sponsors. While some people argue that her daughters are more so the victims than actual perpetrators, her daughter, Olivia Jade, often talked about how the only reason she wanted to go was to party and watch football games.
Terrie McEvoy Tricks Her Followers
Terrie McEvoy once hosted a giveaway on her Instagram by giving away two free high-end bracelets from the company Tower Jewellers. The problem is that she had rigged the whole thing. When she announced the winners, that's when things got fishy.
Fans noticed that one winner was her brother's girlfriend and the other was her really good friend. The latter was harder to determine, but users found a post that revealed she had known the girl for a while. She stylishly apologized with a quote from Rafiki from Disney's The Lion King.
Laura Lee Racist "Jokes"
It's easy to fall into making a racist or stereotypical joke when you're below the age of 5, but Laura Lee certainly wasn't when her Tweets from 2012 were found. Too bad for her that she didn't go back and delete them.
Unfortunately, this has happened to a handful of celebrities and probably more than we can think of off-hand. While you shouldn't make these jokes at all, Twitter is the absolute worst place for it.
Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled Crypto Scam
Whenever a celebrity or influencer is sponsored, it's always important that they check out who they are being sponsored by instead of blindly accepting the cash and dishing out whatever content they were asked for.
Too bad for Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled because they didn't bother. The company that sponsored them, Centra Tech, managed to use them to scam millions of dollars out of people and it became hard to trust these celebrities beyond this point.
Take a good look at that hashtag and try to figure out what that's really saying. If you noticed (without prior knowledge) that it says Susan Album Party, then you're definitely more innocent than the rest of us.
It's easy to see how this hashtag can go wrong. Despite that, though, Susan is probably the sweetest woman to ever greet the stage. We like to attribute this marketing failure as a small oopsie on her part.
Donald Trump Gets Pranked
Back in 2014, a man shared a picture and asked Donald Trump to retweet it saying, "My parents who passed away always said you were a big inspiration. Can you pls RT for their memory?" With as big an ego as he has, he obviously retweeted it. But, unbeknownst to him, he was being played a prank on.
The words were carefully selected to look like he was saying this himself, and the picture he shared was of serial killers Fred and Rose West. We never thought this kind of thing was out of the realm of Donald Trump's capabilities, but he clearly never looked at the Twitter handle of the man whose post he retweeted. Whoops!
Marissa Fuchs Engagement
Marissa Fuchs, now Marissa Grossman, had a wonderfully marketed engagement to her husband. She was sent all around the world on a scavenger hunt that led her to a surprise engagement in Paris.
However, a pitch deck that suggested the whole thing was staged had gotten leaked to the media. Despite never admitting to staging the proposal, it put a lot of doubt and mistrust into the minds of her fans.
Caroline Calloway Didn't Meet Expectations
Caroline Calloway is a writer and influencer on Instagram who became popular through her intimate detailing of her life abroad. So when people had the chance to meet her in person, they got really excited,
For $165, her fans would be able to hang out with her for a few hours. But due to failing to find enough venues and writing the personalized cards she promised to those that signed up, she had to cancel every meeting after the second one.
Rita Ora's Failed Tweet
Back when Rita Ora was still a judge on The X Factor, she had tweeted out to the world that she would release her new song if the tweet had managed to garner 100,000 retweets.
You can guess what happened. It didn't hit the mark, and she deleted the tweet later on claiming that she was hacked. We know you were just embarrassed, it's okay to admit that.
EA Chose The Wrong Man
This one is a marketing failure, but this time it's totally on the company sponsoring the influencer. Electronic Arts had asked Benjamin Burnley to promote their new Star Wars Battlefront game. Little did they know what he thought about it.
Well, he certainly let them know. Instead of posting a photo of their game in an effort to promote it, he posted a picture of a ruined disk that would be impossible to play. He went further by stating his complete disdain for the game.
Chriselle Lim Seems A Bit Cognitively Dissonant
When Chriselle Lim partnered with Volvo to promote a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle, fans were quick to point out how obvious it was that she was being promoted to do this.
They claimed that her statements didn't agree with her lifestyle choices. What makes this weird is that Volvo chose to partner with someone who doesn't share the same ideals as their own. Maybe they should have chosen someone who actually cares.