20 Companies That Made Terrible Decisions And Almost Ended Up Bankrupt
Large companies usually require a lot of work and effort to maintain profitability. However, sometimes decision-makers use unethical means to make a high return on investment or they invest in promotional ideas that just don’t pan out the way they expect.
Some of these moves have become massive PR blunders for corporations and a lesson for all others on what not to do. One particular online discussion took off when one user asked people to share stories of the worst historic mistakes organisations have made that they are aware of. We’ve gathered the worst and shared them in the gallery below for you.
More info: Reddit
Image source: Hejke
One of Swedens biggest firms for building managing is called Locum. In the late nineties it was very cool for companies to have logos where their names were spelled in lower caps. So the logo was “locum”. One Christmas Locum took out big ads in the biggest papers wishing everyone a merry Christmas and conveying the love that they felt for Sweden. How did they decide to do this? By replacing the “o” in locum with a heart of course.
So big ads that looked like this: “l ♥ c*m”.
Blockbuster refusing to buy Netflix
Here’s one happening right now: HBO is rebranding as “Max”.
HBO is a premium brand with decades of quality programming behind it.
Max is generic, vague, and makes me think of soft core p**n.
Sears dominated the mail order industry for over a century with their catalog. In 1993, they decided that mail order was on the decline and discontinued the catalog. Less than a year later, Jeff Bezos would found Amazon.
Can’t believe the Hoover flights to America promotion from the early 90’s hasn’t come up yet. They offered a pair of return flights to America worth £600 if you spent £100 or more on their stuff. Turned out people thought £100 for a return flight with a free vacuum cleaner was a hell of a deal and it was a disaster that cost the company millions
Image source: teflonjon321
When Game of Thrones botched the most anticipated episode in the series history of one of (the?) biggest shows in history by making it in borderline pitch black. Then explaining themselves by saying people need better TVs….[https://nypost.com/2019/05/01/game-of-thrones-cinematographer-blames-dark-episode-on-bad-tv-settings/amp/](https://nypost.com/2019/05/01/game-of-thrones-cinematographer-blames-dark-episode-on-bad-tv-settings/amp/)
Trying to decide which was worse: Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal India that killed 4-8k people and injured maybe 100k, or Chiquita (under a former name) overthrowing the legitimate government of Guatemala with help from the CIA.
Nestle convincing thousands of women in low income countries that they should wean off their babies and substitute breast milk for extremely expensive formula because breast milk wasn’t fully nutritious, but also forcing new mothers to spend 30% of their income JUST on baby formula, which made them try save it to last way longer than it should and ended up killing their kids from malnutrition.
Blackberry thinking that they are the top in the mobile market so they didn’t need to innovate to compete with those new iPhone things from Apple.
Not the worst certainly but the one that makes me smile whenever I think of it.
I work for a pretty big company with offices in pretty much every country. Billions in profit every year and one of the leaders in our field. About 15 years ago there was an internal announcement that we were going to rebrand in a couple months.
A guy who I vaguely knew was already on his way out the door but before he left he grabbed the domain name that the company would definitely want to have as part of their rebranding but had not yet reserved. So a week later when they finally got around to trying to reserve it they found it occupied with a tiny website that only had a gif of a character dancing with the caption, “I got your domain!”
I have no idea what they had to pay him to get it.
Supposedly years ago, there was a Pepsi slogan “Come Alive with Pepsi” that was mistranslated in Chinese as “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Dead.”
One funny one that always springs to mind is the Britain’s Got Talent winner Susan Boyle releasing her first album and her management coming up with a twitter hashtag to promote it: #susanalbumparty
It trended number one but not because of the actual album lol
In Canada, when the Conservative Party merged with the Reform party they called themselves the Canadian Reform Alliance Party or as all Canadian comedians realized “C**P”. It was hilarious for 48 hours before the changed it. Never forget C**P
Have you heard of the [Osborne Effect](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osborne_effect)?
TLDR: Company in 1981 has one of the first home computers on the market, it sounds fantastic and everything. At the launch, CEO says the next version will be so much better…. So everyone decided why buy this version if the next version will be better? We’ll wait for V2.
So V1 sold terribly, company folded, there is no V2.
* Coke making New Coke
* Kodak refusing to go digital believing people would stay true to film
* Toys R Us neglecting their online sales experience
The Ford Pinto’s propensity to explode when rear-ended.
And Ford making the business decision not to recall because their “cost benefit analysis” showed that lawsuits for injury would be cheaper.
Image source: scottfpaul
Digiorno trying to make the hashtag “Why I Stayed” be about making pizza at home.
JC Penney tried to eliminate the tons of sales and never-ending discounts on their products by just pricing them at what they would normally be, aiming for a “fair and square” price model. Instead of marking a shirt up to $10 and then having it basically always 40% off, they just priced it at $6, for example. They also ended their prices in solid dollars instead of $0.99 intervals to make it easier to calculate.
No coupons, no sales, but the same price. People always complain about how stuff gets marked up just to get put on sale and how cheap of a gimmick it is, right?
Well turns out people actually love feeling like they’re getting a deal even if they objectively know it’s just set dressing, and JCP lost millions from the strategy and their sales dropped by around a third.
When U2 made us all have their album on our ipods.
Gerald Ratner calling his own company’s (jeweller) products “c**p” and saying that “a prawn sandwich would last longer” than their earrings at a conference. The company’s value fell by £500m and he had to resign.