Worst Brand Failures of 2019

Worst Brand Failures of 2019

2019 was indeed a year of ups and downs for many companies. Many ideas did not receive the recognition that the brand owners might have expected. Even the bigger brands are no exception. Consumer perceptions are dynamic which at times are not that simple to predict. This becomes one of the major reasons making an idea a relative flop. Even one bad idea can cause great repercussions for the brand. There is something to learn from each such failure, which might be of great help to other businesses working in the same field. This article strives to bring out the top 10 worst brand failures of 2019, in addition to the major reasons for their failure. This article is going to be quite insightful, so keep reading!

10 Worst Brand Failures of 2019

1. World Cup Prodigy, Burger King, Russia

The world cup prodigy was quite an absurd idea brought up by the Russian franchisee of Burger King. Under this, Burger King, Russia, claimed to provide 3 million rubles along with a free lifetime service for supply of Whoppers to the women who got pregnant with a world cup soccer player. In a sense, this was done by Burger King to reward all those women who participated in contributing to the continuation of a soccer prodigy. It seemed just as weird to everyone as it must have seemed to you. It was largely thought of as offensive and insensitive. After perceiving the response of customers, Burger King immediately apologized for this online campaign done by the Russian Burger King and assured that the same won’t ever be repeated in future.

2. #MondayMotivation, Chase Bank

As an attempt to motivate people to start their week with a positive energy and mind-set, this hashtag got very popular on Twitter. People used to write down quotes or whatever that used to keep them toiling the whole week. Chase Bank did the same but in quite a different way. Using the popular hashtag, Chase tweeted how a person spends money mindlessly in activities like going to a cafe or restaurant, taking a cab to office etc., instead of actually saving it. This offended many as it was insulting various sections of the society in a way. It was called as an attempt of ‘poor-shaming’. After knowing about the reactions, the tweet was deleted.

3. Snapchat, would you Rather Ad

Snapchat is supported by third party advertisements. All of a sudden, it was overpowered by an insensitive ad instigating domestic abuse. This ‘Would you Rather’ question asked whether people would want to Slap Rihanna or Punch Chris Brown. Of course, it was humiliating for both Rihanna and Chris Brown. This was perceived by users in the same way. They started raising their voices against the ad. Snapchat responded by apologizing for the inconvenience caused by the third-party ad and promise to run an investigation in the case to ensure that this kind of behaviour is never repeated again.

4. Ad by Miele on International Women’s Day

Meile is an appliance manufacturing company. As a part of its advertising campaign, Miele came up with an idea. This advertisement had 4 white women standing cheerfully around a washing machine. What kind of a notion did Miele think it would give? To society, it was definitely not something to be cheered for. In fact, it was stereotyping women with home chores, just like what was done ages back. Using white women was indicating racism instead of diversity, and the washing machine was reflecting stereotypical beliefs. This was done by Miele, not on an ordinary day, but International Women’s Day. No wonder, the whole idea is flawed but doing it on this auspicious day raised even more concerns.

5. Cadbury Racism

Everyone loves Cadbury chocolates! But what was up with Cadbury when it came up with such an illogical way of promoting unity among Indians? The idea was to show diversity in India by making the bar with different types of shades for different squares. This included white, milk, blended and dark chocolate type. It claimed to show unity in diversity in India. But more than that, it was promoting racism in India. Even though the product worked well in the market, but it faced huge protests on social media. Cadbury was greatly criticized for coming up with an idea which promotes such a sensitive issue.

6. Peloton, Christmas Ad

Peloton, a fitness-based company, faced huge criticism for releasing a Christmas ad that promoted male dominance in a way. The ad presented a man recording his wife working out on a stationary bike. Her workouts were recorded for the whole year starting from the Christmas day and shared as vlogs. Critics claimed the ad to be sexist as it seemed that the man was forcing the woman to work out. They suggested that the ad should have had a man working out instead of the woman. Peloton responded by saying that the ad was misinterpreted by people and it was not what they intended to showcase.

7. Customized Kits Tool, Adidas

Adidas, UK came up with an initiative to let football fans lay their Twitter handles on a virtual jersey. This customized t-shirt was tweeted by adidasUK account, along with a purchase-link. Just as it created great excitement in the fans, it was overshadowed by offensive messages. This happened because the customising tool was not capable of distinguishing or side-lining wrong messages. So, the Twitter account got flooded with references like that of Madeleine McCann, Adolf Hitler and the Hillsbourg Disaster. This took some time to realise which led to the constant retweeting before the tweets actually got deleted. This promoted the wrong ideas extensively.

8. Apple Credit Card

A Credit Card was launched by Apple in the month of August in 2019. However, it had a major flaw that it could lose its colour very quickly if not kept properly. Normally, a person would want to keep their credit cards in a wallet or pocket, right? What if Apple does not allow you to do so? Yes, you read that right! Apple Credit Card is so delicate that it is prone to losing its colour if kept in contact with jean fabric or wallet material. Apple has listed out a guide which tells consumers as to how to keep the card preserved. It was majorly made available in the US. But it faced a backlash since most users found it more comfortable to keep them the traditional way.

9. Zavvi Reward

In May, several users of Zavvi received an email stating that they have won a sponsored trip and tickets to Champion Leagues Final Match. The users claimed that the email was received voluntarily and neither of them participated in any sort of competitions. When Zavvi came to know about this incident, they apologized and called it a technical glitch. People who received emails were greatly disheartened and responded outrageously, even when Zavvi repeatedly apologized for the inconvenience caused. This unintentional incident hampered the image of the online retailer, Zavvi, to a great extent.

10. Google Voice Assistant

There is no wonder in the fact that Google Home Smart Speakers and virtual voice assistants are being used widely. In a similar case, it was reported that many personal talks got recorded by the assistant which were shared. These personal talks included family chit-chats and confidential phone calls, which should not have been recorded as the wake-up words ‘ok google’ were never used. This brought out serious default from the company’s end as people privacy was being interfered with. It can be harmful if certain confidential talks are leaked without any such intentions. This proved to be a failure as it brought in many apprehensions by users.


These were the top 10 worst brand failures of 2019. Through this article, we have tried to provide an insightful and detailed description of each case. We also tried to keep the cases crisp and fascinating. Hope you had a good reading experience!


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