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The Biggest Marketing Mistakes of 2013

Every year, earnest marketers do all they can to expand brand identities and create unforgettable marketing campaigns. And every year, a handful of efforts become unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Marketing blunders are commonplace – mistakes are what help us identify the road to success. Yet some snafus are so outlandish, so utterly awe-inspiring for the lack of consideration and offenses, that they provide glaring examples of what not to do for the rest of us.

As you read the list of this year’s biggest advertising boo-boo’s, bear in mind these are easier than we think to step into. Marketers normally have insane trajectories and goals and equally unrealistic deadlines, as well as ever-shrinking budgets. We all have made decisions on the fly that perhaps were better left out of the public eye. Be thankful to the folks who enacted the mistakes below; they did so that we may never follow suit. Learn from these oopsies – or be destined to repeat them instead.

Marketing Mistake #1 – Offending the Masses

It goes without saying that launching an offensive campaign is borderline brand suicide. Yet every year, many companies do just that. American Apparel was one of this year’s biggest culprits. Notorious for using scantily-clad models that often looked underage, the clothing giant opted to broaden appeal by launching a plus-size modeling search. All good and well, until you examine the details.

First, they actually called the campaign “The Next BIG Thing“. The way they presented the contest was anything but appealing, stating they were looking for someone “booty-full” to represent their brand. When a clear audience favorite emerged, a lovely woman named Nancy Upton, the drama continued. Nancy had actually been the winner of a fan-sourced model search back in 2011 for American Apparel, too. And just like they did in 2011, they once again turned Nancy away%2


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