The U-turns that backfired

Coca-Cola

A classic U-turn was performed in 1985 when Coca-Cola changed its recipe to produce New Coke in response to Pepsi getting the upper hand on sales. But consumers didn’t like the new taste and the company had to reissue the original formula, branded as Coca-Cola Classic – which then outsold New Coke and Pepsi in the same year.

gap
Gap: Failed logo redesign created consumer confusion

Gap

The clothing retailer redesigned its logo in 2010, but it was trashed by consumers on social media, with tweeters making up their own @GapLogo and @NewGapLogo handles. Gap then asked its Facebook fans to suggest their own logos, before reverting to its original branding within a week.

Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson said at the time: “In a remarkable seven-day period, Gap has gone full circle from old logo to new logo to crowdsurfing to apology to old logo. One week later and it’s right back where it started – except now with major consumer confusion and question marks over the capabilities and decision-making of [Gap North America president Marka] Hansen and her team.”

Ryanair

In 2010, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary famously denied the existence of climate change when he said in an interview with the Independent: “The climate has been changing since time immemorial. Do I believe there is global warming? No, I believe it’s all a load of bullshit.”

Cut to 5 June 2012, and Ryanair proclaims itself “the world’s cleanest, greenest airline”, citing research by Brighter Planet and the Dutch Consumer Organisation.

The budget airline also says it has reduced CO2 emissions by 50% but does not state over what time period. Ryanair declined to comment.

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