The top 10 Biggest Brand Blunders of 2004
Fighting back against the rise of Bratz. Two days before Valentine’s Day, Barbie broke up with Ken after 43 years. The news prompted many to scold Barbie-maker Mattel for putting Barbie’s values in question (she dumped Ken for an Aussie surfer dude) and selling out to make a buck.
10. KRISPY KREME – Krispy Kreme followed that up by attracting the ire of the SEC with a profit warning and shady franchise repurchases. The stock plunged 75% in the past year as of November, when the doughnut maker announced a loss of US$3- million in the third quarter.
9. DELL DJ – Dell had visions of competing with Apple’s iPod when it introduced its DJ. Its late introduction hurt holiday sales last year, even though Dell priced the DJ to undercut the iPod.
8. PIER 1 IMPORTS – Pier 1 announced a spokesman makeover, casting off Kirstie Alley in favour of Thom Filicia of Queer Eye fame. Shortly after, second-quarter earnings revealed a 43% decline in profit. The specialty retailer announced it would look for a new advertising agency.
7. FANNIE MAE – In November, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro filed a securities fraud, class-action lawsuit against the company and its officers, who were accused of embellishing numbers to line their pockets with bonuses.
6. ANHEUSER-BUSCH – The maker of Budweiser and Bud Light got perturbed when SAB Miller, the parent of Miller and Miller Lite, said it was un-American to call itself the “king” of beers. Anheuser-Busch countered with a “queen of carbs” campaign, and the feud was on—even in the courtroom. Sales of Miller Lite, which have been sluggish for years, are up, while Bud Light’s are down.
5. CBS – Superbowl wardrobe malfunctions and the resignation of Dan Rather amidst scandal. Say no more.
4. ATHLETES – Drugs and violence. The NBA’s black eye came when Indiana Pacers players brawled with Detroit Pistons fans. And Major League Baseball was rocked as superstars Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield all became embroiled in a steroid controversy. Olympic stars Marion Jones (steroids) and Michael Phelps (DUI) had their own troubles.
3. MERCK – The second-largest U.S. drug maker fell on terrible times in September when it pulled its painkiller Vioxx in the biggest prescription-drug recall in history.
2. WENDY’S – Fast-food giant Wendy’s introduced its first new spokesman since Dave Thomas died in 2002. Well, sort of. The new spokesman was “unofficial” in a series of commercials that attempted to present the food in a light-hearted manner. In November, Wendy’s bagged the campaign.
1. BARBIE – Fighting back against the rise of Bratz. Two days before Valentine’s Day, Barbie broke up with Ken after 43 years. The news prompted many to scold Barbie-maker Mattel for putting Barbie’s values in question (she dumped Ken for an Aussie surfer dude) and selling out to make a buck.