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Brand Failures

What do Coca-Cola, McDonalds, IBM, Microsoft and Virgin have in common? Yes, they are all global giants striding successfully across the world, but what they are less recognized for are all those branded products they've launched that have bombed -spectacularly and at great cost.

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Brand Failures is a riveting look at how such disasters occur. For the first time we’re given the inside story of 100 major brand blunders that make for jaw-dropping reading. Matt Haig approaches his subject in a truly entertaining style – yes, this is a business book that is actually fun to read! But his message is deadly serious.

He describes those brands that have set sail with the help of multi-million dollar advertising campaigns only to sink without trace. He also looks at acknowledged brand mistakes made by successful blue-chip companies and some lesser-known but hilarious bombshells. He reveals what went wrong in every case and provides for each a valuable checklist of lessons learnt, categorized as:

classic failures;

idea failures;

extension failures;

PR failures;

culture failures;

people failures;

rebranding failures;

Internet and new technology failures;

tired brands.

Companies live or die on the strength of their brand, and failure can be fatal. Don’t let yours be consigned to the brand graveyard. A tour of Matt Haig’s fascinating hall of failure will alert you to potential dangers and show you how to ensure a long, healthy life for your brand.


1. Introduction

Why brands fail

Brand myths

Why focus on failure?

2. Classic failures

1. New Coke

2. The Ford Edsel

3. Sony Betamax

4. McDonald’s Arch Deluxe

3. Idea failures

5. Kellogg’s Cereal Mates

6. Sony’s Godzilla

7. Persil Power

8. Pepsi

9. Earring Magic Ken

10. The Hot Wheels computer

11. Corfam

12. RJ Reynolds’ Smokeless Cigarettes

13. Oranjolt

14. La Femme

15. Radion

16. Clairol’s ‘Touch of Yoghurt’ shampoo

17. Pepsi AM

18. Maxwell House ready-to-drink coffee

19. Campbell’s Souper Combo

20. Thirsty Cat! and Thirsty Dog!

4. Extension failures

21. Harley Davidson perfume

22. Gerber Singles

23. Crest

24. Heinz All Natural Cleaning Vinegar

25. Miller

26. Virgin Cola

27. Bic underwear

28. Xerox Data Systems

29. Chiquita

30. Country Time Cider

31. Ben-Gay Aspirin

32. Capital Radio restaurants

33. Smith and Wesson mountain bikes

34. Cosmopolitan yoghurt

35. Lynx barbershop

36. Colgate Kitchen Entrees

37. LifeSavers Soda

38. Pond’s toothpaste

39. Frito-Lay Lemonade

5. PR failures

40. Exxon

41. McDonald’s -- the McLibel trial

42. Perrier’s benzene contamination

43. Pan Am

44. Snow Brand milk products

45. Rely tampons

46. Gerber’s PR blunder

47. RJ Reynold’s Joe Camel campaign

48. Firestone tyres

49. Farley’s infant milk

6. Culture failures

50. Kellogg’s in India

51. Hallmark in France

52. Pepsi in Taiwan

53. Schweppes Tonic Water in Italy

54. Chevy Nova and others

55. Electrolux in the United States

56. Gerber in Africa

57. Coors in Spain

58. Frank Perdue’s chicken in Spain

59. Clairol’s Mist Stick in Germany

60. Parker Pens in Mexico

61. American Airlines in Mexico

62. Vicks in Germany

63. Kentucky Fried Chicken in Hong Kong

64. CBS Fender

65. Quaker Oats’ Snapple

7. People failures

66. Enron

67. Arthur Andersen

68. Ratner’s

69. Planet Hollywood

70. Fashion Café

71. Hear’Say

72. Guiltless Gourmet

8. Rebranding failures

73. Consignia

74. Tommy Hilfiger

75. BT Cellnet to O2

76. ONdigital to ITV Digital

77. Windscale to Sellafield

78. Payless Drug Store to Rite Aid

79. British Airways

80. MicroPro

9. Internet and new technology failures


82. VoicePod

83. Excite@Home

84. WAP

85. Dell’s Web PC

86. Intel’s Pentium chip

87. IBM’s Linux graffiti


10. Tired brands

89. Oldsmobile

90. Pear’s soap

91. Ovaltine

92. Kodak

93. Polaroid

94. Rover

95. Moulinex

96. Nova magazine

97. Levi’s

98. Kmart

99. The Cream nightclub

100. Yardley cosmetics

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