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Wildly Successful Marketing Campaigns That Damaged Brands

The concept of “suffering from success” has been widely mocked in the decade since the term was first popularised by music producer DJ Khaled, but in the world of branding and marketing, there is some wisdom in the statement.

Whilst interpreted as a somewhat audacious boast in the context of the producer’s seventh album, a brand can suffer from success if a campaign becomes incredibly popular, yet at the same time creates a negative or misleading perception of a brand.

Here are some infamous examples.


The Lynx Effect

Probably one of the single most infamous advertising campaigns of all time, Lynx (marketed as Axe in the United States) is a body spray that from the 1990s until the early 2010s marketed itself with a range of print and television adverts heralding the “Lynx Effect”.

The general narrative was that a man would spray Lynx and suddenly become irresistible to women, which was not only criticised for being sexist but also ended up sending the opposite message to consumers and the women they were trying to impress.

Lynx ended up being associated with men who tried too hard to impress women, often putting on so much of the strongly-scented product that it ended up having the opposite effect.

The Lynx Effect marketing shifted away from aggressive posturing and eventually, the brand was retired in favour of “Find Your Magic” and a less toxic approach to masculinity and confidence.


Ferrero Rocher

It is rare for one of the best and most memorable adverts in UK history to also be brand destroying, but Ferrero Rocher’s Ambassador’s Reception series of adverts first shown in 1992 managed to create brand awareness but also generated more than its fair share of mockery.

The advert, with its somewhat infamous pyramid of hazelnut truffles and fawning praise by a legion of diplomats and how with a box of chocolates that cost less than £10 they really spoiled them.

This overreaction made the advert ripe for mockery, and whilst Ferrero has attempted to move their brand away from the Ambassador’s Reception image, none of their other marketing campaigns have escaped its shadow.

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