Marketing Decisions That Permanently Tarnished A Brand
One of the best ways to think about branding and marketing is as the face of a business, and one that can help magnify a company’s reputation.
However, as Warren Buffet succinctly put it, reputation and brand integrity are quite fragile, and decades of good work can be undone by a single bad decision or unfortunate moment.
This does not always need to be the case, however, and not all terrible moments lead to collapse.
The American medicine brand Tylenol was rocked by a series of poisonings, later found out to be an act of murder from an unknown assailant or group of assailants, but parent company Johnson & Johnson restored its reputation through open communication and cooperation with investigators.
However, other companies failed to navigate difficult situations quite as well, and here are some situations where an unfortunate self-inflicted decision permanently ruins a brand.
Acclaim’s Raunchy BMX Stunt Backfires
Acclaim Entertainment was a very successful albeit controversial entertainment company in the 1990s and 2000s, known for creating computer games, toys and comics based on popular franchises, typically aimed at children and young adults.
However, struggling to keep up with the rest of the market in the early 2000s, they made the profoundly baffling decision to convert a BMX game featuring the late Dave Mirra into a far racier game by the name of BMX XXX.
The decision went as well as many had speculated, selling just 160,000 copies despite a projection of millions, many retailers refused to stock any Acclaim products, and Mr Mirra sued the company claiming it damaged his image. Ultimately Acclaim would file for bankruptcy in 2004.
Imagine’s Self Sabotage
Imagine Software, one of the few companies to plunge into receivership on national television, was in many respects a pioneer for effective marketing in the computer games world, having popularised the image of the self-styled bedroom coder.
However, their most infamous marketing decision was the unveiling of the so-called “megagame” Bandersnatch, which was set to cost more than three times the going rate of games, required additional hardware, took a very long time and led to bankruptcy before the game had even come out.
Eight Words That Ended A Legacy
In 1995, John Romero was one of the most famous and beloved figures in the electronic entertainment industry and started his own company known as Ion Storm to create groundbreaking computer games.
This positive reputation ended almost immediately in 1997 with a simple bright red full-page advert and eight words that Mr Romero has since claimed he regretted.
None of Ion Storm’s games sold well, and the company closed in 2001.
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