Food for thought

We’ve said it a million times (well, a few times on this blog) — check into everything you put out there! Packaging with slang that might not read just right in a foreign market, promotions that will go wrong and alienate customers and the ever popular, check your fulfillment capabilities before you attempt to distribute something you promise consumers.

With that said, here’s some more famous blunders that no one checked.

In recent news you may have heard about McDonald’s in Japan giving away 10,000 MP3 players, fully loaded with 10 free songs. Problem is, many of them were also loaded with a Trojan virus that captured user info and sent it to hackers the minute it was plugged into a computer, sending all personal information to those hackers. No one was “lovin’ it!”

Not to be outdone in bad taste, Burger King foolishly ran an ad for their new Texican Burger. “The taste of Texas and a little, spicy Mexican” – and they do mean little. The ad for the new product ran only briefly in Spain and the United Kingdom before the Mexican government demanded it be pulled. Seems they don’t like having their countrymen depicted as three-foot-tall wrestlers who wear the Mexican flag as a cape. Winner of the major “DUH!” award.


The folks at Pepsi pooped out recently. Pepsi offered to give away 250 pairs of Yankee Stadium opening day tickets. But when the Pepsi reps showed up in Times Square, instead of the 250 pairs of the promised tickets, they showed up with just 100 sets and most were for a game in June. As one would expect, this basically led to a mob scene, with angry fans yelling “Pepsi sucks!” and pouring cans of soda out on the street. Sounds like fans were coked up!


The Dominos keep falling one after another for Domino’s Pizza. After two moronic employees posted videos of themselves treating customer’s orders like they treated their own careers, causing massive expenditures for spin doctors to revive the brand, Domino’s offered free pizzas to anyone that types in the code “bailout.” Only problem is the promotion hadn’t actually been approved before the code got out and 11,000 free pies were given out. Company reps blamed the error on a computer glitch, or hackers. But Domino’s actually looked pretty good after this one for honoring the giveaway. One of the few companies that take it like a man…with extra cheese!


Norwegian McDonald’s restaurants had the bright idea to name a burger after a place where millions of people were facing starvation. Reps said the McAfrika Sandwich (there’s trouble brewing there in the name alone) was based on an authentic African recipe (sure it was) but that didn’t stop many in Norway from accusing McDonald’s of extreme insensitivity. McDonald’s considered donating proceeds to famine relief, but ended up allowing relief agencies to place collection boxes in participating restaurants. Stay tuned for the McSwineflu Rib Sandwich!


A recent online promotion from Carl’s Jr. (also known as Hardee’s in some states) for a free $2.75 “Famous Star” hamburger coupon went a little too viral. 276 winning contestants were texted a passcode and a 48-hour-only URL where they could download their coupon. And as the saying goes, they told two friends…who each told two friends…and so on…and so on. A day later, hundreds of websites were posting the URL and passcode, and the company had to shut down the promotion. Apparently viral isn’t always a good thing.


It seems a simple process but promotions take research, planning and experts to back it up and tie it together. Here at The AFTERLIFE, we also consult on your ideas to take them further, or hold them back a bit. Our teams are experienced with major national campaigns and initiatives, so why throw away money on an idea that just may need a little tweaking…or major project management?




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