Even the largest, wealthiest and most powerful companies are not at all immortal or vulnerable. Don't believe me? Here are a few striking examples when well-known global brands ruined their reputation, and sometimes lost huge amounts of money due to unsuccessful statements.
Pepsi and Women's Chips
In 2017, the PepsiCo holding, apparently deciding to catch a wave of excitement around everything "feminist", began work on a line of "women's chips" from Doritos (a subsidiary of Pepsi). In an interview, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi complained that women cannot afford to lick their fingers after chips and crunch loudly in public, and announced the release of snacks that will not crunch loudly and stick to the fingers, and their packaging will fit in a small handbag.
The effect is exactly the opposite. On the evening of the same day, Twitter almost burst with jokes about Pepsi:
“And how we used to eat those awful male chips!”, “What a relief, because my fragile girl's jaw breaks every time I eat regular Doritos”, “I should have called from Discreetos”.
A few days later, representatives of the company began to strongly disown the development of women's chips: "We have Doritos chips for women - they are called Doritos and they are eaten by millions of people around the world every day." Of course, PepsiCo did not go broke from the failed PR campaign, but its reputation was tarnished, and the women were angry.
Zara and the Salary Scam
The Zara clothing brand scandal erupted after an employer stopped paying lower-level workers. After that, customers found things in the Zara brand store in Istanbul with tags on which it was written: "I sewed this thing that you are going to buy, but I was not paid for it."
According to the Associated Press, these phrases were present on the tags of items sewn by Bravo, the performer with whom the management of Zara signed a contract. Bravo soon closed, but it never paid its employees for the last three months of work. Based on the comments of the representatives of Inditex (the company that brings together Zara and a number of other low-cost clothing brands), the violators never pleaded guilty.
Zara said Inditex has fulfilled its contractual obligations with Bravo Textil and is working on a proposal for IndustriALL's local subsidiary. The founders of the Mango and Next brands have set up a fund for workers in need who have suffered as a result of fraudulent actions by the owner of Bravo. The foundation has reimbursed losses and paid salary costs for workers who have suffered from misconduct.
Although a third party was involved in this case, the shadow of this scandal fell on Zara itself - after that there were many journalistic investigations about the inhuman conditions in which the clothes of the famous brand are sewn.
H&M and black boy
How the company's reputation suffers after one unsuccessful slogan is now known to the owners of the H&M brand. Due to the scandal that erupted against the background of an unsuccessful choice of a model for a clothing catalog, this company suffered heavy losses. Now the brand will at least not be represented in the countries of South Africa. H&M said it was closing stores on the continent following "recent events in some of our South African stores" and called it a temporary measure.
It all started with indignant tweets from American rapper Weeknd, who tweeted a photo from the brand's website. The picture shows a black boy wearing a green sweatshirt with the words “Coolest monkey in the jungle” written on it.
The photo caused protests on social networks and provoked a wave of negativity among celebrities. Activists even gathered outside the H&M headquarters to express their outrage. The police had to use guns with rubber bullets to disperse the crowd of protesters and restore order in the street. After that, H&M had to urgently remove the photo from the catalog and close stores in South Africa.
Before that, H&M had already gotten into an unpleasant scandal: their stores sold striped robes with six-pointed stars on the chest like in Nazi concentration camps. Now the company, burnt in milk, is blowing on the water: they have audited the clothes and removed the children's socks from sale. A man is depicted on his toes, hammering the asphalt, and in the pattern from the scattering rubble they found a resemblance to the inscription "Allah"
Findus and horse meat climbing
To tarnish a reputation, a company is enough to brazenly deceive its customers. The British company Findus, engaged in the production of semi-finished products, in 2013 was at the epicenter of the scandal for a reason. Its slogans “You can trust us” and “Findus uses only the best ingredients” did not correspond to reality in any way, as buyers found horse meat in frozen lasagna and other meat products instead of the declared beef.
The manufacturer immediately recalled all products, the description of which did not correspond to reality, and changed the description of the goods on the official website - now the horse meat was declared in the composition. However, site visitors were still haunted by slogans about trust and the best ingredients, and it looked like a branded mockery! It is logical that this again caused a storm of negative emotions and demands to remove outright lies from the packaging. The company did not consider it necessary to answer phone calls or messages on the brand's Facebook page. This could not but affect sales - the manufacturer's authority was seriously damaged and is unlikely to be restored.
Amazon VS Trump
The scandalous American businessman Donald Trump has more than once made accusations against Jeff Bezos, the founder of the Amazon Internet site, owner of the aerospace company Blue Origin and the Washington Post publishing house. Shortly before the 2016 presidential election, Trump said that after his election, Amazon was in big trouble. This is what he did after he came to power.
On the Axios portal there was news that Donald Trump intends to organize an antitrust investigation into the activities of Amazon. According to the president, the work of the Internet giant harms small entrepreneurs and destroys other areas of business. There were no official statements about the investigation from the President of the United States, but the market reacted immediately. Amazon shares dropped in price by 5% over the day, and it itself lost $ 31 billion in monetary terms. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world and the largest shareholder in his own company, lost $ 1.6 billion.
Adidas and the joke on the terrorist attack
Incorrect phrases can cause a flurry of negativity even among loyal customers. In 2017, after the 121st Boston Marathon (the most prestigious race that has been held annually since 1897), Adidas sent out letters to the participants with the subject "Congratulations, you survived the Boston Marathon!"
For some reason, the organizers did not take into account that a major terrorist attack took place during this race 4 years ago. As a result of the explosion of two bombs in the crowd, 3 people were killed and 264 injured.
After that incident, the company had to apologize to everyone who was hurt by the rash words in the letter. In their defense, representatives of Adidas said that they did not even think that these words could offend anyone.
The Dior Fashion Designer and Admiration for Hitler
In the 80s, John Galliano was one of the most influential couturiers in the world, although hardly anyone dared to wear his clothes off the catwalk. In 1996, he was offered cooperation by the legendary fashion house Dior and was right: Galliano breathed new life into the collection of the elite brand and turned it from a niche boutique into a network of several hundred stores. Galliano's dresses were sported by movie and pop stars - Princess Diana, Kate Moss, Charlize Theron ...
But in 2011, the couturier crossed out his career with one careless phrase. At a social reception, he stunned a cute Jewish couple with the words: "I support the ideas of Adolf Hitler!" The interlocutors were reasonably indignant: “Who do you think you are? You yourself are far from being of Aryan appearance. " “And you shouldn't exist at all, ” replied Galliano.
This was followed by a scandal with the dismissal of the anti-Semite from Dior. Galliano became an outsider - no brand wanted to invite him to work. He tried to justify himself by saying that he was drunk on that ill-fated evening, but this did not help.
A couple of years later, he decided to start all over again: he became a co-author of the Oscar de la Renta collection, and in 2014 accepted an invitation from the Russian cosmetics store L'etoile, which invited the fashion designer to the position of creative director.