Short-Term Marketing Success That Became Long-Term Disasters

Short-Term Marketing Success That Became Long-Term Disasters

How do we measure success? It is one of the oldest questions in business and one that is particularly difficult to answer when it comes to marketing.

When designing a marketing campaign, your marketing team is also likely to ask you what success looks like for your business and this campaign. After all, a call to action to subscribe to a newsletter will have different goals and measurable statistics compared to a seasonal sale.

This is also especially true if the long-term effects of a campaign are very different from their short-term ones.

For example, whilst New Coke is rightly gone down as one of the biggest marketing blunders in history, its long-term effect ended up making Coca-Cola the market leader again, to the point that conspiracy theories have emerged claiming it was part of a long-term plan.

This list is about marketing campaigns that had the opposite trajectory, in that they were initially very successful but proved disastrous to a brand’s long-term image.

Hoover Flies You To The Moon

The Hoover Company was so successful in the United Kingdom that vacuum cleaners are still known as Hoovers, but one single marketing campaign created a cascade that ultimately led to its sale to a competitor.

By 1992, the United Kingdom economy had been reeling from a global recession, reaching its zenith on Black Wednesday when the pound sterling collapsed entirely.

Hoover was struggling and to try and boost sales, offered two free round-trip plane tickets to anywhere in the United States to anyone who bought at least £100 worth of Hoover products.

Initially, this was a massive success, and customers flocked to their local appliance store to buy cheap vacuum cleaners, eager to not only enjoy a clean home but a flight to America as well.

However, there was a good reason why they were eager, as at the time the two tickets would be worth around £600, and even with the hoops Hoover had placed in front of customers and the deal they had with the similarly struggling JSI Travel, the demand made the offer prohibitively expensive for Hoover. 

It ultimately led to a legal case and an appearance on the television series Watchdog, destroying Hoover’s reputation and leading to its sale to Candy in 1995.

Domino’s Anti-Mascot Leads To Hostage Incident

Domino’s Pizza in the 1980s had two major advertising campaigns that both made their name and almost ended in controversy.

The first was a promise to deliver in “30 minutes or less” that ended due to a series of major lawsuits, the other campaign ended for more unusual reasons.

Avoid the Noid was an anti-advertising campaign that consisted of the eponymous mascot and his constant attempts to ruin pizzas that failed at every turn.

It was massively successful to the point that an animated series and a video game were made, but it ended due to a thoroughly strange set of circumstances.

A man by the name of Kenneth Noid, believing that the campaign was targeted towards him personally, entered a Domino’s Pizza restaurant with a pistol and held two employees at gunpoint for five hours, the ordeal only ending when the pair escaped whilst he ate pizzas he had forced them to make.

Ultimately he was arrested and later died in a mental institution, creating a strong negative brand association that allegedly caused the character to be discontinued.

It highlights the importance of setting short and long-term goals for your marketing campaigns, to ensure that they not only support your marketing aims in the present but do not cause any negative effect to your brand going forward.