At first glance, marketing seems really simple – you just come up with a bunch of ideas to promote a product or service, right? But you really need to think things through because if you’re not careful, a bad marketing stunt could cost a company a lot of money. Many brand names have learned this very lesson the hard way. In fact, you’ll probably wonder who okayed these ideas in the first place. Here are some of the craziest marketing stunts that didn’t go as planned.
1. LG’s Accidental Riot
In 2013, LG came up with a great campaign idea that involved 100 helium balloons, each containing a voucher for a free smartphone. Now this wasn’t some cheap, random phone; it was pretty pricey – valued at over $850US. As you can imagine, most people didn’t want to pass up such an opportunity. So when the balloons were released, the BB guns came out and shots started ringing. As vouchers fell to the ground, twenty people got injured in the resulting scuffle. LG quickly made the wise decision to cancel the rest of the events.
2. Jagermeister’s Pool Party
During a 2013 brand promotion event in Leon, Mexico, which also happened to be a pool party, event managers decided to turn up the party atmosphere by pouring liquid nitrogen over the swimming pool for a cool smoky effect. What they failed to realize was that pool water contains chlorine which when mixed with liquid nitrogen creates a toxic gas. It wasn’t long till partygoers started falling unconscious; eight people were hospitalized and a 21-year-old man became comatose. Fortunately, no lives were lost. If only they had skilled chemists on their team to tell them it was a no-go!
3. Snapple’s Downtown Flood
It seems that logic failed to make its way into Snapple’s board meetings for this particular event. As part of the promotion of the newly launched set of frozen treats, Snapple decided to go all out with a record-breaking stunt: a 25-foot-tall and 17.5-ton ice sculpture that would be displayed in downtown New York. The only problem? It was a hot summer day. Roads had to be closed down and people fled to higher ground as the strawberry-kiwi pink goo flowed into the streets. Fortunately, Snapple has no desire to ever attempt this again.
4. Domino’s Tattooed Giveaway
Russia’s Domino’s branch underestimated their customers’ reactions in a bizarre 2018 marketing strategy: for the chance to win a lifetime supply of free pizza, all you had to do was get the company’s logo tattooed somewhere on your body and upload the picture to social media. They bit off more than they could chew because the two-month campaign had to be cut short after only five days when hundreds of pictures started flooding Domino’s (then) Facebook page. And only the first 350 people received the free pizza prize. It must’ve really hurt to be the 351st person, don’t you think?
5. Lay’s Rainy Days
The US-based Lay’s company decided to run a campaign for their UK counterpart, Walkers, where participants could bet on when and where it would rain. Little did they know that the UK is pretty much known for its dreary weather and in no time, several bets were won. Although the payout was $10 per bet, the entire thing cost Lay’s a whopping $600,000. Halfway through, they tried to limit how much participants could bet, which led to backlash and a strict warning from UK Watchdog who eventually put an end to the campaign.
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