5 Examples of Brand Failures To Learn From

5 Examples of Brand Failures To Learn From

We have previously shared with you successful branding stories, but did you know that even the most prominent brands have made some of the worst branding mistakes? We will be reviewing them and the lessons we can take away from them.

1. Dove Made Bottles Shaped after Women Bodies 

Dove Made Bottles Shaped after Women Bodies 

Dove launched limited edition bottles in 7 shapes to celebrate the diversity of beauty. ‘’Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes’’, and Dove embraced it with their 7 shapes of body washes. However,  the campaign faced backlash and ridicule from consumers. Experts shared that Dove’s approach appeared more cheeky than engaging a sincere tone to celebrate the diversity of women. Dove’s campaign also missed the point of the primary value a body wash has and instead focused too much on its packaging by selling ‘’big ideas’’. 

Lesson learnt? Focus on the value of your product to consumers rather than on the packaging. If your brand engages with social issues, ensure the tone is sincere. 

2. Estee Lauder’s Lack of Inclusiveness 

Estee Lauder’s Lack of Inclusiveness 


In 2018, Estee Lauder launched a line of foundation known as Double Wear Nude Water Fresh Makeup SPF25. Its line of products featured over 30 shades of foundation; however it was mainly catered to people of light skin tone, leaving very few options for women of colour. Estee Lauder faced backlash for the lack of inclusiveness of their product range, and consumers took it as a message on who the brand was and was not catering to. Diversity of consumers is now increasingly embraced by brands and for Estee Lauder to produce limited shades for people of colour, it appeared to signal to consumers that the brand was not inclusive or welcoming of people from different racial backgrounds. 

Lesson learnt? Position your brand right, especially when it comes to sensitive social issues. Don’t give consumers the wrong messaging. 

3. Tropicana Rebranding Mistake

Tropicana Rebranding Mistake

The beverage company well-known for its orange juice decided to rebrand its packaging and product, but the results were disastrous. They gave their packaging a more straightforward design, redesigned their logo and removed the iconic orange feature on their drinks. This resulted in consumers being unable to recognise their products and sales dropped by 20%. 

Lesson learnt? Find out what brand elements appeal to your consumers and what is it that they identify with for your brand. This prevents you from committing the same rebranding mistake to produce an unrecognisable product when you change too many brand elements your customers know you for. 

4. Colgate Ventures Into Food Development 

Colgate Ventures Into Food Development 


You probably know Colgate for their oral hygiene product and perhaps even own one of their toothpaste or toothbrushes at home. Have you ever thought of Colgate developing food though? Well, Colgate did when they felt that there was a natural connection between food and oral hygiene and decided that the next natural progression would be to introduce Colgate Kitchen Entrees. Colgate launched its line of food products in 1982 as part of its brand expansion efforts. However, the ready-made meals confused consumers who did not appreciate the connection between frozen meals and Colgate. The results? Colgate faced a massive decline in profits and had to pull the meals off the shelves. 

Lesson learnt? Colgate was already a household name and in mind of consumers, Colgate = toothpaste. There was a disconnection between Colgate’s brand identity and the line of frozen meals they had introduced. Know the association your consumers have with your brand and don’t attempt to use your established brand name to promote other products if it does not make sense to your loyal customers. 

5. Animal Planet’s Logo Rebrand  

Animal Planet’s Logo Rebrand  

Animal Planet changed its logo, which audiences have known them for to one that only featured an elephant and altered the colours entirely. The new logo caused confusion and difficult associations with the brand. To complicate matters, Animal Planet did not explain the reason behind the new logo, making the new elements challenging to understand. 

Lesson learnt? Communicate with consumers when there are decisions to rebrand or introduce new elements. This reduces confusion, but it would be best to research before rebranding, which otherwise is a recipe for disaster. 

While the brand failures might have provided you with some laughter along the way, we hope that you have learnt from their mistakes. Branding and rebranding need a serious thought process, and we cannot choose to leave it to chance. The examples we shared were made by established international brands, and they are in a better position to buffer mistakes made. However, this might not be so, especially if your business is taking flight, you wouldn’t want a costly branding disaster. If you are new to branding, our professional services are always open to help you out. 

If you have been engaging in common branding mistakes, we can change that. Email us at ask@demellows.com for a free consultation today. 


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