15 Marketing Fails That’ll Make You Pee Your Pants

Need I say more? (Source)
Need I say more? (Source)

Every now and then, you need to look at some really bad marketing a) to know that you’re doing it right b) to make yourself feel better and c) to laugh at the incredible faux pas that marketers, advertisers and magazine editors make because they #fail to check their work.

So as a follow up to my last marketing fail post – 15 Legendary Marketing Fails – I’m going to expose a few more marketing blunders.

  • The Thank You Captain Obvious Fail: When you sarcastically thank the marketeer for telling you something you already knew.
  • The Oxymoron Marketing Fail: a self contradictory phrase that disappoints or just plain dosen’t make sense.
  • The Ad Placement Fail: When combining your ad with another causes chaos or when placement within the ad causes chaos.
  • The Copywriting, Punctuation or Grammar Fail: You should have gotten someone else to proof your ad.


Thank You Captain Obvious

1. Pizza Hut Has Pizza Folks (just in case you didn’t know)

Pizza Hut, you have…dare I say it… pizza? No way! I would have NEVER guessed.

Marketing Fail

Oxymoron Fails

2. Always Open. PSYCHE!

They’re always open. Except when they’re closed.

Marketing Fail

3. Lemonade forever? Just kidding.

Maybe they were trying to reference the Beatles, but don’t tell us it’s forever and then take it back. That’s just mean.

Marketing Fail

Ad Placement Fails

4. The future is what?

Come on now, these babies are too young for that.

Ad Placement Fail

5. What do you sink about this ad placement?

Sure we all loved the movie the Titanic, not so sure if we are sold on making it a reality.

Ad Placement Fail

6. Free Diabetes

Free Diabetes with my soda? Of course. Why wouldn’t I?

Ad Placement Fail

7. This ad placement was rather unfortunate…

When it comes to this ad, we are going to go with a solid no.

Ad Placement Fail

8. Match.com, your message didn’t match

Just the ad you wanted to see after you watched the movie The Breakup.

Ad Placement Fail

9. Ad placement chaos

Dear Editor-In-Chief, this article really dosen’t go well with the ad.

Ad Placement Fail

10. Parents Magazine Fail

Parents magazine really should pay more attention to its sticker placement. And this is on the front page too. Talk about embarrassing.

Ad Placement fail

Copywriting, punctuation & Grammar Fails

11. Writing web copy for a newspaper?

It just not the same.

Copywriting Fail

12. Rachel Ray’s secret to a good meal

This is why punctuation matters.

Marketing Grammar Fail

13. Copy Fail

If that copy was a call-to-action on a landing page, then the conversion rate would be 0%.

Copywriting Fail

14. Apostrophe Catastrophe

We get it, the accent in your name is your brand, but that glaring punctuation is definitely not.

punctuation fail

15. YOU’RE doing it wrong

Cheaper than Cheaper? Cheaper than Cheap would have done just fine. And although I’ll be saving, I won’t smile until you learn how to write “you’re” properly.

grammar fail

— Stefanie Grieser

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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. Emma Siemasko

    I actually think “We have pizza” sort of works. Clear, concise, true. It’s transparent, to say the least :)

  2. J. M. White

    I think 12 and 14 are my favorite #facepalm moments.

    For #15 they also opted to ignore a space between the comma and your. And what’s with the quotes around just the “Smile,your saving” part? I suppose it could have been worse. They could have stated: “Smile, your saving alot of money!”

    Thanks for the laughs

  3. PPC Campaign Generator

    lol, that was fun :) Those newspaper placements are hilarious. The ‘Cheaper than Cheaper’ concept is probably the worst name for a business ever thought up. The magazines, I mean come on! Those had to pass through several key decision-makers and editors. Did no one have any questions? :)

  4. Jamie Anderson

    Haha! The Belfast Telegraph front page wins for me hands down, absolute cracker!

  5. Sunday

    Hi Stephanie,
    Quite a hilarious pack of marketing fails. I am thinking that 80% of marketing placements out there would have one form of fails or the other. Its just that these should be delivered to the right audience at the right time!

    Thanks for sharing these fails.They are funny but should be reassessed by marketers! :)

    The above comment was left in the IM social site – kingged.com where this post was shared and “kingged”.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor


  6. Mark Ford

    Very funny. Love No. 5 – The dream holiday above the sinking ship. Must have been deliberate surely?

  7. Brad Edwards

    Oh man, some of these are awful. I thought I’d seen some rough advertising faux pas, but these take the cake.

    One of the things that drives me nuts is the spelling/grammar errors. There’s just no excuse for that kind of thing. After you spend so much time trying to build a professional image for your business, why not get someone to proofread it for you? Why spend all that money just to look like a fool?

  8. Robert

    These are all very funny, but the two related to rape and the death of a starved child are done in poor taste. I would be more cautious when selecting such stories for mere amusement.

  9. Hannah Hamilton (@HamiltonHanah)

    Haha. Really funny. Never thought that even the well known brands have bad ads. Thanks for sharing this. Had a laugh. :)

  10. Darek

    Haha those are really funny fails. The #7 really made me lough.

    How can people even make such epic fails, lol.

  11. Ritika

    This is awesome, Stefanie :)

    Thank you.

  12. used autoparts online

    Thanks for sharing this post. It would help business owners to grow their business with a good strategy….. :)

  13. Jamie

    Funny List and photos…, however I would say that a few of these have quite obviously been photo-shopped … .cover #12 has clearly been doctored to have the word “for” removed…

  14. Martin Flink

    That’s REALLY Good Fun Stefanie! =D

    But you missed ONE!

    Your own ;)


  15. Randall Magwood

    Come on Pizza Hut. We know you don’t sell hamburgers.

    And I would like to know how to “Click Here” in a newspaper lol.

  16. Satrap

    I want to know Rachel Ray’s secret for cooking her family and her dog!

  17. Robbie

    Spotted this earlier… pic.twitter.com/j5yg7SKInv

  18. porrfilm

    Very funny. Love No. 5 – The dream holiday above the sinking ship. Must have been deliberate surely?

  19. Ehsan Ali

    Hi This One !
    Marketing is the art of Marker person. This blog is very nice and great discus ideas about it.

  20. Digital Marketing Courses

    This post cracked me up! One of my favorite personal marketing fails was a restaurant advertising their dessert of the day as the “Tammy Sue” instead of tiramisu. Made my day:)

  21. Andhi Setya Hermawan

    a very good idea , theory and direct practice with the steady reliable. Marketing it takes skill and patience to speak very well . Very inspiring to online marketing . Thanks knowledge

  22. Web Design Cheshire

    I love the one that says, ‘Always open… CLOSED’! Genius.