In light of IHOP’s recent, alleged jest that it was changing its name to the International House of Burgers, let’s take a look at some legendary branding catastrophes.
“The F.U. Center.” First Union inherits naming rights through 1998 merger with CoreStates Bank, which cost $40 million. They assign the name “First Union Center,” which Philadelphians shorten to create the “F.U. Center.”
“Best Buns in the Galaxy.” Cinnabon misses double entendre in attempting to honor Carrie Fisher and her seminal role of Princess Leia after her death: “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll always have the best buns in the universe.”
Lost in Translation. When the American Dairy Association brought its famous “Got Milk” campaign to Spanish-speaking markets, what was the translation? “Are you lactating?”
Careful with that URL. The Italian battery manufacturer Powergen Italia had a bumpy introduction to the Internet when it introduced its first website: www.powergenitalia.
What’s in that Baby Food? Gerber’s iconic cute baby image gave the wrong impression to consumers in Africa, many of whom can’t read and thus are conditioned to use food-label images to identify the contents within packaging.
The Perils of Relying on Woody Woodpecker. Woody Woodpecker is a cult hero in Japan and so Panasonic used the cartoon character prominently in advertising to promote its first-generation touch-screen PCs. Panasonic was unaware what would happen when they brought the campaign and its slogan to the U.S.: “Touch Woody, the Internet Pecker.”
Never Dare Identity Thieves. LifeLock CEO Todd Davis gave his actual social security number in advertising to show faith in his product. It quickly goes awry when a whole lot of people steal his identity and demonstrate the uselessness of LifeLock.