5 Companies Whose Ad Campaigns Just Backfired Horrifically
Hey, remember when American Apparel's official Tumblr tried to celebrate the 4th of July with a picture of some nice fireworks but accidentally posted a photo of the Challenger explosion instead? Which didn't even happen in July. Can you imagine if every company was that dumb?
Well, you don't have to imagine! In this era of large corporations putting their entire online reputation in the hands of whichever intern can remember the Twitter password, "stumbling ass backwards into controversy" is the rule, not the exception. In fact, here are five such screw-ups from the past few months:
Zara Sells Pajamas That Resemble Concentration Camp Clothing
You'd think that it'd be difficult to mess up designing clothes meant for drooling idiots in darkened rooms, but the geniuses over at Zara have mastered it. After deciding to add some toddler PJs to the lineup and presumably going back and forth on what would be the absolute cutest design, Zara settled on little sheriff outfits. The problem? Apparently, when looking for inspiration they slightly misspelled "Western movies" and accidentally typed "Holocaust documentaries."
"Uh -- damn dyslexia."
It took eagle-eyed shoppers to point out that Zara's latest range of baby nightwear bore an uncanny resemblance to the clothing worn by concentration camp prisoners. To be entirely fair, the star-shaped badge does have the word "sheriff" written on it, albeit in a tiny font that isn't legible on any images in existence of the product. If any lunatics did buy these pajamas based on that photo, we can only imagine how disappointed they felt to look closer and find that word there.
Still, it's a one-time error, right? It's not like they once sold handbags embroidered with swastikas and holy shit they actually fucking did.
Wait until you see their Halloween "Ghost" costume fuck-up.
Malaysia Airlines Asks/Warns Customers to Prepare Their Bucket Lists
Malaysia Airlines has had, to put it in no uncertain terms, an absolute motherfucker of a year. After two widely publicized tragedies involving their aircraft, it's only natural that they should try to erase the "Malaysia Airlines = death" association from the minds of the public by doing something fun. Like, say, a contest where you have to create your "ultimate bucket list." As in, "list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket." As in, "you're gonna fucking die."
The prize? Plane tickets. We are absolutely not joking.
How many people did they expect to list "doing an orangutan"?
Malaysia Airlines renamed the contest, saying the morbid connection hadn't occurred to them, because apparently they've been reading different headlines about Malaysia Airlines than we have. They also clearly never got around to watching the second half of that light-hearted Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman romp. Guys, spoiler alert: we have some bad news.
Fox Celebrates "National Beheading Day" on Day of ISIS Beheading
There's bad timing, and then there's "someone in your company is a wizard and also evil." Case in point: to celebrate the release of the first season of their show Sleepy Hollow on DVD, Fox decided to commemorate the day with the hashtag #HeadlessDay. You know, because it's hard to think of hashtags when your most popular character is called "the Headless Horseman."
That makes no sense, you literally brainless dolt.
Unfortunately, this event was slightly overshadowed by another piece of news that day ... the beheading of reporter Steven Sotloff by ISIS.
According to Fox, they sent out the campaign just before the news about Sotloff broke. That doesn't, however, explain why they thought this would be any more appropriate after the execution, weeks earlier, of James Foley, and threats of more beheadings. Dudes, this entire year counts as "bad timing" for "headless" promotions. Just stick to the "horseman" portion of the name from now on, please.
DiGiorno Loves Pizza, Misusing Domestic Violence Hashtags
Every once in a while, something comes along that renews our faith in social media as more than just a collection of bad jokes and a thinly veiled excuse for data mining. For example, in the wake of that horrifying video of Ray Rice beating his wife, thousands of victims of domestic violence flocked to Twitter to share their stories using the hashtag #WhyIStayed.
And then, about five minutes later, something else usually comes else along and kills that renewed faith. In this case, it was DiGiorno Pizza chiming in on that somber moment with all the grace and aplomb of the Kool-Aid Man crashing a funeral.
The tweet was quickly deleted, and on the DiGiorno Twitter account they explained that they "did not read what the hashtag was about before posting." As some type of weird penance, they also took it upon themselves to individually respond to every single angry tweet that they received. Considering that this is the Internet (we've already gotten 75 complaints about this article, and we haven't even finished writing it yet), they should be finished by the end of the second Sasha Obama administration.
Michael Bay's Ninja Turtles Re-Creates 9/11 in a Poster
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was pretty terrible, but let's face it: it wasn't as bad as, say, 9/11. Well, someone in the marketing department saw an early cut and clearly disagreed.
The original version had Leo beheading Foot Soldiers on the way down.
Yes, that would be a New York City skyscraper exploding. With (turtle) people jumping out. And the words "September 11" written directly underneath. If you don't know why that's a potentially volatile combination of imagery, congratulations on being 5. The poster was pulled almost immediately after being posted online, although you probably already knew that if you were standing outside and heard the collective "Whaaaaaaaat?" reverberate around the planet.
Sure, this was an Australian poster (Sept. 11 was the release date there), but it was released online worldwide by Paramount's official social media accounts, run by people who presumably know what a 9/11 is. They either failed to look at the thing before uploading it or just assumed the Australian version of the movie was a lot darker and involved time travel.
When he isn't being not-controversial on Twitter, Adam writes about conspiracy theories over at his website.
For more corporate snafus, check out 4 Hilarious Leaked Emails Corporations Don't Want You to See and 4 Problems Companies Accidentally Revealed to the Public.