Category Archives: Marketing mishaps

Losing its fascination

So … not new

This year’s thumbs-down for a trend that perplexes me goes to the slogan writers. Some time ago another Brit pointed out to me that if you’re stuck and uninspired and can’t think of a catchy slogan in German, the simplest solution is to take the product or benefit and slap “Faszination” in front of it. Cars: Faszination Auto. Pets: Faszination … Continue reading

Not hot

Not hot

Each generation finds new ways to say something is amazing – far out, cool, phat, hot or these days among young people awesome. Everything in the US and now in the UK seems to be: awesome (best pronounced with a slight nasal twang and a long awwwwwwwesome). In Germany everything seems to be geil. Geil actually means

An app parents approve of?

Helping screenagers

A golden rule in marketing is KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER. In some markets, especially B2B, this can be difficult as a number of decision-makers may be involved. In consumer markets it’s usually easier, but not necessarily obvious… One thing parents struggle with is which products the children may decide to buy, which ones to buy together, or which ones to buy … Continue reading

Go with me

Transporting the wrong message

I’m used to seeing companies putting their foot in it with a brand name that translates badly into another language or with a coincidental bad meaning (see posts on Doggy Style or Boring) but this is usually in an international context. When I spotted this unfortunate example on a lorry last year, it immediately struck me as an example of … Continue reading


One we rue, Weru?

I’m really struggling to say something positive about this press ad I found tucked away in an obscure publication tucked away in a hotel tucked away outside Manchester. Considering it’s for Germany’s leading brand (mentioning that was a plus point), it’s appalling. Who wrote it? Where? Who approved it? Ok, good practice (all right, one more plus point): a reference … Continue reading


Hard cheese

A local supermarket has introduced a Cheddar cheese that it claims is a real favourite in the UK. If that’s so, what do they think about “Seriously Strong” Cheddar’s claim that it’s the UK’s favourite? Or is “most popular” not the same as “favourite”? In fact how do you define FAVOURITE? Through omnibus research or questionnaires? By assessing ratings such … Continue reading


The big message

I’ve criticised the use of QR codes on posters before, and have to do it again. This ad is from the sunny island of Ibiza. It’s for a restaurant, apparently: Foster’s Hollywood (already challenging enough for me – the brand name sounds like Crocodile Dundee stuck on Sunset Boulevard). Anyway, what do I do when I see this ad? Stop … Continue reading

NUR ALS ZITAT Screenshot / Brigitte / Topmodel / Sascha Mšrs

Web hijacking

I’ve written a number of posts recently about Web 2.0 and marketing’s attempts to involve the online community in campaigns. We’ve had customers overruling marketing departments and getting them to reverse a logo redesign – Gap. Then we had the web communities basically mocking marketeers by suggesting weird product ideas and names: Barbie and Marmite. The problem with these online … Continue reading


Proclaiming your weakness

This latest marketing mishap is, frankly, embarrassing. The company concerned sells posters for retail outlets. It’s a clever idea. If you’re a small bakery and need a poster, log in to and order one online. As a bakery I visited did. Only I don’t think they spotted the typo. Any student of German will tell you, it’s spelt “Gibt’s” … Continue reading


Painful pricing

Holidays always uncover marketing mishaps for me, probably because I can never switch off in a world brimming with unexpected marketing treats. But I find so many, I’m still catching up on the painful examples from last year. Here’s an unfortunate menu translation I discovered last July in Germany. I guess the restaurant wants you to want its food so … Continue reading


Please explain

I frequently criticise logos, though it’s harder when people explain their rationale, as with memorex. With this confusing logo, I didn’t bother walking into the shop in a wet and unusually cold town in Bavaria, the logo was enough warning to steer well clear. But I would like to know what it means/says/symbolises… Success? Succession? Success on 1? Who knows. … Continue reading