Top 10 Terrifying Marketing Mistakes Of 2019

During every episode of my podcast, Beyond Social Media, my co-host BL Ochman and I discuss the best and the worst marketing communication stories of the week. These are the top ten worst marketing stories I discussed during the past year.

10. Nike Blows It

This story about a blown Nike sneaker is the least glaring mistake on the list because it is much more a case of bad timing than it is a mistake in marketing execution or judgement. Still, it was pretty bad nevertheless.

9. Samsung Folds

Samsung's rollout of its Galaxy Fold smartphone was disastrous because the review copies they sent tech journalists broke upon use, ensuring devestatingly critical press coverage prior to release. As bad as this story was, the production mistake ultimately only harmed Samsung. Thus, it is number nine on the list.

Samsung's nearly $2,000 Galaxy Fold could still be one of the most creative devices to come to market in recent years. Right now, though, it looks like the phone flapped its folding wings too close to the sun.

8. Popup Hell

Popup windows are unfortunately all to common on the web. Still, three on one page? On an article discussing the importance of brand experiences? C'mon, man!

7. Signup Clutter

Another mistake of marketing execution. This example of how not to generate newsletter subscriptions illustrates how to depress conversions of each...and...every newsletter offered.

Nine subscription forms on one page!

6. 9/11 Pizza

This is a breathtaking example of cultural and social cluelessness. Trivializing and exploiting tragedy is a mistake in judgement that was guaranteed to provoke a backlash.

5. Racist Self-Driving Cars

Not a marketing story, really, but a theme I've watched emerge among technologies that will affect society at large and marketing in particular. Mark this one down as programming cluelessness.

4. Nonfluencers

Have "influencers" jumped the shark yet? This story is high on the list because it involved marketing deception by influencer wannabes.

Influencer Marketing is a buyer-beware activity. Some so-called "influencers" are faking-till-they-make it by literally creating fake sponsored posts.

3. The North Deface

The North Face's ad agency's "brilliant" idea of using black hat SEO tactics and then creating a promtional video to pat themselves on the back for their deceptive practices earns the third spot for the deception as well as the cluelessness of not realizing the tactic was doomed from the start.

The North Face concocted a "search engine optimization" effort that ran afowl of both Wikipedia's terms of service and SEO best practices and earned a massive backlash in the process.

2. Airline Seat Cameras

Surveillance capitalism writ large. #SMDH

Following passenger concerns over cameras spotted on Singapore and American Airlines flights, a United spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that its cameras "have never been activated," while Delta said that its cameras "are not functional."

1. Apple's Power Play

Apple flexes its muscle by shutting off access to its platform to its two biggest competitors. Nice productivity you got there; shame if anything were to happen to it.

Apple punished Facebook and Google for violating their terms of service by shutting down productivity within both offenders companies.