Fascinating Branding Faux-Pas Made By Major Companies
Branding is one of the most important, most immediately evident and most difficult parts of an entire marketing campaign, as the philosophy of an entire company needs to be distilled into a simple logo, colour scheme and slogan.
It requires a careful eye on the marking, a self-reflective look at what the business does right and knowledge of the local business market, which a branding agency in Marlow can help with if you are based in Buckinghamshire.
However, even the best and most successful companies in the world don’t always get it right, and these fascinating failures can highlight the fractures behind the faultless veneers of big businesses, as well as provide lessons on what to avoid.
Here are some of the most unique examples.
Netflix is one of the most fascinating companies in the world in terms of both its successes and its failures.
Both its incredible foresight and astonishingly bad decision-making led to the creation of Qwikster, a brand so bad that some believe its entire existence to be a deliberate act of self-sabotage.
For most people, Netflix has always been an online streaming service and content producer, but in the early years of the company the brand had a monthly DVD rental service that competed with and utterly demolished a Blockbuster video rental chain that kept making mistake after mistake.
However, once Netflix’s streaming video service became the most dominant part of its business, it tried in vain to spin off the rental business into its own company, with a separate website, account and pricing model.
It lasted a month and was quickly axed.
HSBC Assumed Nothing Was Amiss
HSBC, formerly known as Midland Bank, traded heavily on its multinational identity, with “the world’s local bank” being its frequent slogan and often heavily relying on translation for its branding iconography.
This backfired on them pretty badly in 2009 when they adopted the slogan “assume nothing”. This is a fantastic summation of their philosophy of embracing other cultures and eschewing prejudice.
At least in English, that’s what it means.
In other languages, the closest translation is “do nothing”, which means something completely different and a hasty international rebranding exercise followed.
Disney blockbusters tend to hit more often than they miss when it comes to big-budget live-action films, but few movies had a worse marketing and branding campaign than the adaptation of John Carter Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Part of the reason for this was that for some reason the House of Mouse decided not to mention any interesting details about the film’s development, whether that be director Andrew Stanton’s history with Pixar (including Wall-E and Finding Nemo), the author also penning Tarzan (already a successful Disney film) and the fact the film was set on Mars.
Add to this a very confusing teaser trailer, muted colour grading and audiences had no idea what the film actually was. It ranks among the lowest-grossing blockbusters of all time.