Brand Fails

A woman holding a "pride" burger from burger king next two a couple bottles of Dove shampoo

Welcome to our second edition of brand fails, it’s when we call out brands for some really weird, insulting, idiotic products or campaigns. Our 2016 blog was a big hit, so we present you with more head shaking moments.

New Coke

We, like the rest of the world, have been watching a lot of Stranger Things lately. So naturally, the nostalgia is real. Some of us, we’re watching it for the first time and others are revisiting the entire series. A minor detail in Season 3, while El tries to do her cool mind sh*t (named piggybacking in s4) in front of a freezer full of Eggos to reach Billy, Lucas cracks open a cold one… New Coke.

New Coke was toted as an “intelligent risk” by CEO Roberto Goizuta, which one employee stated new coke would do for the brand ”what Diet Coke did for the Diet Market”.

Wrong. Coca-Cola consumers were pissed. You don’t change a classic. They began bombarding the call centers demanding Coca-Cola stick to their classic, then they started hoarding Coke Classic for fear of the supply running out. Yeah, it was one hell of a fail.

So what did we learn from that fail? Whelp, two things. Don’t f*ck with a classic, and nostalgia always wins. (I mean, seriously, nostalgia is king. *side eyes at Stranger Things playing on our dual-monitors*.)

Every Carl’s Jr ad from 2005 until 2019

We don’t think this even needs context. If you want to have sex with your hamburger, then Carl’s Jr did its job… gross – Daddy’s Home.

The Pride Whopper

Yup. You read that right. Last month, Burger King got aboard the Pride bandwagon and put out a rainbow-washed product with a twist. By this point, this shouldn’t be anything new for any of us. After all, the LGBTQIA+ community has a lot of purchasing power (like $3.7 trillion dollars as of 2019). Of course, brands want to court them in any poorly thought-out way they can.

Two burgers—one with with two top buns and one with two bottom buns.

But sometimes they go beyond turning their logo rainbow. Sometimes, they do what Burger King did. 

Look at it. Just look at it. What the actual hell, Burger King? If you can’t process that image, it’s a blindingly bright rainbow behind two Whoppers—one with two top buns and one with two bottom buns.

Do we even need to explain why celebrating Pride Month with an image of two tops and two bottoms isn’t a good idea? Did they even have a focus group?! We’re disappointed, but we can’t say we’re surprised.


Really? Back at it again? Teetering both between amazing marketing tactics and scarily inappropriate marketing tactics we have a Dove throwback. In 2017 Dove launched their body-shaped bottles campaign to resemble feminine bodies as an appreciation tactic for a body-posi approach to self-care. Dove, this was a flop. We love all body types too but triggering people in the Target aisle, is not it.

A line of Dove body care bottles varying in shapes and sizes

It’s 2022 at this point so hopefully, we are learning to stop calling attention to people’s bodies? Especially female-presenting individuals? Godspeed to Dove this year on the campaigns, we shall await your rebound. 

That’s it for this edition of Brand Fails, we hope you enjoyed our Ted Talk. Please learn from these companies and do better.

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