15 Legendary Marketing Fails

These marketing fails made us facepalm. Image source.

There’s just something so cringe-inducing about witnessing others’ marketing mistakes. Our last post on the subject, 15 Epic Marketing Fails was a hit. And so was our Facebook album packed with pictures of embarrassing marketing fails.

So back by popular demand, we have rounded up the best of the worst marketing fails.

Today’s categories:

  • Genius or Fail? When marketing fails are so horrible, you wonder if marketers did it on purpose. And if they did, does the phrase “Any publicity is good publicity” really ring true?
  • Grammar & Spelling Fails. When something is representing your brand or marketing your product, please, please remember to double check your work.
  • Ad Placement Fails: When one ad meets another and causes chaos. When marketers pay good money and then editors screw it up.
  • Miscellaneous Marketing Fails: These can’t be categorized – except maybe with the word WRONG.

Genius or Fail?

She takes a what, where?

These marketers clearly did this on purpose. Pro: They got people talking about their ad. Con: They compared their product to “sheet.” So is it a fail? Or did they succeed in making this ad go viral?

Marketing FaiI take a sheet in the pool

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Come a little closer

What do you think, marketing genius or marketing faux pas? Are these marketers going a little too far?

Marketing Fail Funeral Services


So Susan Boyle’s Album Release Twitter HashTag was one big mistake…but hey, publicity is publicity, right?

Marketing Fail Susan Boyle

Grammar & Spelling fails

Apostrophe please

What is the spelling on the actual cake going to be?

Marketing Fail Cakes For All Occasions

Free Joining Fee

Loves me a free fee? Wait, what? I have to pay?

Marketing Fail Free Joining Fee

Ad Placement Fails

Shameless Tricks

Shameless Tricks? Well, Mr. Editor-in-Chief, you should be ashamed. Please make sure you look at BOTH sides of the fold before you approve the magazine for print.

Marketing Fail Ad Placement Fail

QR Code Fail

Of course I will climb down onto the track and step over the railing to launch my QR Code scanner. Let me get right on that… Death wish anyone?

Marketing Fail third rail QR Code

Laughing so hard right now

Laughing at you. Not with you.

Dear Editor-in-Chief, Please remember where you place an ad is just as important as the ad itself. Sincerely, Marketers everywhere

Marketing Fail Placement

Father’s Day Fail

This really makes you want to “treat him.”

Marketing Fail Fathers Day

Miscellaneous Marketing Fails

Strong Call-to-Action

This call to action was so strong , someone took it to heart.

Marketing Fail If It Ain't Broke Break It

I Spy With My Little Eye…

We’re putting the ball in your court. What exactly is wrong with this ad?

Marketing Fail Nicolas Cage

Today is the Day…

We fire the marketing team. Please, remember your audience.

Marketing Fail Today Is The Day We Take The Stairs

Celebrity Endorsement Fail

Common Oprah. I had higher expectations coming from you.

Marketing Fail Twitter for iPad

Sexual Innuendo Fail

Hmmm. Not sure if this is an ad for a touchless faucet or…

Marketing Fail The Moment Your Forearm Has Been Waiting For

Racist Fail

Word on the street is that this may be fake. But still.

Marketing Fail Racist
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About Stefanie Grieser
As the 9th employee at Unbounce, Stefanie Grieser has gone from scrappy startup marketer to passionate, scale-up leader, heading up international markets, partnerships and events. She was named top 100 female marketers to follow and loves turning a good idea into an impactful, memorable experience. Find her on Twitter @smgrieser.
» More blog posts by Stefanie Grieser


  1. Jack Hutchinson

    Funny funny stuff! I think the Asda one made me laugh the most.

    I don’t get the watch one with Nicholas Cage though, am I missing something?

  2. David

    @ Jack – It’s and ad for Mont Blanc and the watch is a Breitling or something else. I think. Oops.

  3. Web Design Firm

    Stefanie great collection of marketing fails. It was hard to choose my favorite but I think the Shameless Tricks one it it.

  4. SEO Hampshire

    Spellings and grammar have to be the worst culprits. There is no misinterpretation or poor decision, it’s just wrong at the most basic level.

  5. Rick Noel

    Great post Stefanie. LOL more than once. Excellent, entertaining, embarrassing for some :-)

  6. Jaz Cook

    Stefanie, these are really good, I was LOL. Ads that go viral, have succeeded in their marketing, people are talking about it. Everyone will remember the product when they see it. Negative publicity is a good thing for unknown firms, gets them famous fast on a small budget, bad for established ones. Do you agree?
    Jaz Cook

  7. Zaragoza

    come a little closer so the subway can kill you! that one is good because people can read the ad better, the bad part is the clients you get die! or is that a good thing for the company?

  8. Trang trí

    Had a really good laugh. I also work on marketing, it’s true that many (funny) things out of control can hurt your brand.

  9. Mike

    Wow, such fails, kinda funny isnt it.

  10. Painting Artist, Inc. - Port St Lucie Florida

    I agree this is funny! You sometimes must fail in order to succeed i guess

  11. Mel Egerton

    They all really made me laugh, thanks so much Stefanie.

  12. Brian

    Holy smokes lol – some of those are really bad!

  13. Shane Powers

    These are great. I don’t get the Nicolas Cage one though…what am I missing?

  14. Jordi

    Fantastic post Stefanie! very funny, what a fails or not… maybe have a great audience with it.
    Thank you!

  15. Mike C

    Excellent piece – thank you.

    The humour is entertaining but the teaching acts as serious reminder of what can go wrong and the need to be super vigilant when developing campaigns!.

  16. Martin Bean

    This was one of my favourites that I saw on the Tyne & Wear Metro system: pic.twitter.com/8J08jTKD

    “Keep your phone safe, except when scanning our QR code.”

  17. Sharon

    These had me laughing so hard, brought tears to my eyes! Thanks!

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  19. Philip Jansseune

    The answer to the Nic Cage question is… all in the title. Look at his eyes – his right pupil is an oval, cat-like shape, not round like his left. Zoom into the picture and you’ll see it.

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  23. Andy Wolowicz

    Really surprised to not see the Kenneth Cole Eygpy Cairo tweets!

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  26. Haydiono Willis

    I love the one with the bacon, because without bacon at 10:50, my life is not complete. Also the one with Nicholas cagewas hilarious I love him and his acting, especially as wonder woman, that was my favourite film. I especially loved it when he did a voice over in HALO

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  28. jay

    Ironic that an article scrutinising advertisements for their “Grammar & Spelling fails” has several grammatical errors itself
    “Common Oprah”
    “Aan advertising executive clearing their desk”

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    these are funny and irony all the marketing fails.

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