Marketing 101

Unusual tales about business marketing practices.

The history of business includes some examples of brilliant marketing ploys . . . as well as some cases of colossal marketing blunders.

White bullet Africans were horrified by an American baby food company's product packaging.

White bullet Undesirable pale salmon is successfully sold with the slogan "Guaranteed not to turn pink in the can."

Red bullet Lucky Strike cigarettes changed from a green package to a white one in the 1940s to aid the war effort.

Red bullet The New Coke fiasco was actually a clever marketing ploy.*

Red bullet Harley-Davidson's 'Fat Boy' motorcycle was designed to represent the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan.

Green bullet Atari buried millions of unsold E.T. game cartridges in a New Mexico desert landfill.

Green bullet In the 1940s, a textile firm used sexy double entendre ads to sell Springmaid sheets.

Green bullet Burma-Shave once promised to send a contest winner to Mars as part of a promotional campaign.

Red bullet Naugahyde is made from the skins of naugas, an odd creature native to Sumatra.

Green bullet M&Ms could have been the candy featured in the film E.T., but they turned down the opportunity.

Multi-colored bullet The three most valuable brand names on earth are Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser.

Green bullet A humorous mail-order scam of the 1930s advertised a surefire and deadly potato bug killer for only $1.50.

Red bullet Sarajevo and Pyongyang are the only two world capitals without McDonald's restaurants.

Red bullet Charles Shaw wine is being sold cheaply because airlines can no longer use corkscrews and have dumped their stocks of wine.

Green bullet Fast food chain Burger King is behind a 'subservient chicken' Internet promotion.*

Green bullet Retailers mistakenly scanned the wrong side of a CD bearing bar code-themed cover art, resulting in lower prices for customers.

Red bullet Clocks in advertisements display a time of 10:10 in commemoration of the time of John F. Kennedy's death.

White bullet Students in Japan consider Kit Kat chocolate bars to bring them luck during exams.*

Green bullet Shoe company markets the "Incubus," a product named for a demon that violates women in their sleep.

Red bullet McDonald's buys its meat from All-Beef, which allows it to claim it uses all beef in its burgers.

Green bullet Lego sets in the 1970s were accompanied with a letter to parents encouraging gender equality.

* Entries marked with an asterisk will display in a separate browser window.

David Mikkelson founded in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.