12 Biggest Brand Blunders In History

Sorry, was that "toilet" or "tonic" water you wanted to buy?

Doh Gif

Brand blunders are far more common than they should be, particularly from world-famous companies. Barely a week goes by without one well-known business or another branding one of their products in such a way that they manage to offend somebody, or cause political outrage somewhere. There are various reasons as to why brands make such blunders, including carelessness, a lack of cultural understanding, poor general research, a misunderstanding of consumer attitudes in certain countries, as well as imperfect - or in some case too literal - translation of names, slogans and brands.

One of the most common blunders made by brands is the failure to adequately check how product names or slogans translate into different languages - with some changing into profanities or even words meaning male or female genitalia. Another mistake made by a world-renowned car company was to try and promote one of their products with an advert featuring an actor who was pro-Tibetan independence, which caused them to lose lots of business in China. Elsewhere, one of the globe's biggest sports-manufacturing companies inadvertently offended the Muslim world by designing an insensitive logo that resembled the Arabic name for "Allah".

So here are 12 of the biggest blunders by world-famous brands in history.

First Posted On: 

NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.