Advertising and marketing mess-ups of 2012
Most versions of IKEA’s catalog featured homey images of domestic bliss – a father, mother and two children getting cleaned up in the bathroom, a family sitting down together at the dining table. The mailer from Saudi Arabia is nearly identical – except that all the women are missing. After consumers worldwide protested, IKEA Group issued a statement saying that its values “support the fundamental human rights of all people” and “do not accept any kind of discrimination.” IKEA Saudi Arabia is run by a franchisee outside the IKEA Group, the company said. It voiced regret over the decision to print the catalog and said it is now reviewing its routines for future issues.(Henrik Montgomery / AP Photo / Scanpix Sweden)
Superstorm Sandy tore through the Eastern Seaboard in October, causing tens of billions of dollars in damage and claiming dozens of lives. But some retailers decided the tempest would be a great way to make some money.
Los Angeles clothier American Apparel sent out an email blast about a “Sandy Sale.” The deal offered 20% off online purchases for shoppers in the nine states hit hardest by the squall. “In case you’re bored during the storm,” the ad noted.
Urban Outfitters offered free shipping on orders with the discount code “ALLSOGGY.” “This storm blows (but free shipping doesn’t!),” the retailer tweeted.
The outcry from consumers was immediate and fierce. “Trying to make a SALE off of a terrible disaster is just terrible,” tweeted user I Heart Heels. “Stop it with your cutesy puns, brands. #notcute”(Wayne Parry / Associated Press)