Ever see a marketing campaign and think to yourself “This must be a joke” or “This is so incredibly bad this must be a genius act of reverse psychology to create something so bad it’s intended to be good”?
In 2011 Boston-based chain Legal Sea Foods rolled out an ad campaign involving a series of three short commercials that mimic public service announcements:”Save the crab. Save it to show that every creature is sacred, no matter how small. Or just save it so we can chop it up into tasty little crab cakes.”
As you might suspect, activists got upset about the commercials, but the company seems to have a history of provoking them.Regardless of the intent, steering clear of environmental and animal rights issues is probably best for restaurants.
In attempt to fulfill the American dream, Pizza Hut attempted to create one of the most glutinous pizza concoctions ever with its Hot Dog Bites Pizza. The Hot Dog Bites Pizza was a “limited time offer” pizza surrounded by 28 bite-sized hot dogs baked into the crust. The pizza comes with a side of French’s classic yellow mustard, which replaces the mustard drizzle that tops other overseas versions. Needless to say, it didn’t last long and there was much criticism about the strange taste and look of the pizza.
A blogger from the Orlando Weekly writes, “I shouldn’t be feeling like I need to rush to the hospital, like my heart is about leap out of my chest because my clogged arteries forgot how to be arteries. I’ve already thrown up once today…” , he then goes on to say, “The whole adventure is a desperate struggle for satisfaction.” Personally, just looking at the picture makes me feel sick.
At least a bad tasting meal isn’t as offensive as the Anheuser-Busch BUD campaign that created major social media backlash when it slapped the tagline “The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night #UpForWhatever” on the labels on Bud Light bottles.
The news of the campaign traveled fast, with countless people accusing the company of promoting rape culture. The public took to twitter to let Bud know exactly how they felt.
One person even suggesting that the marketing department should be fired.
The company later admitted that they “missed the mark, and regret it.” The brand later issued a longer statement attributed to Alexander Lambrecht, vice president of Bud Light: “The Bud Light Up for Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In this spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior.”
Discontent from the public continued and proved to be a PR nightmare for the brand. The campaign caused so much damage to the image of the brand, there are still tweets going around associating Bud as being the “date rape beer”. Many people still think the brand should have caught the mistake before it happened. As the voice of the consumer it’s difficult to see how it was possible for Bud not to notice how bad of an idea this was.