11 Advertising Campaigns That Backfired Spectacularly


Airbnb: Floating world marketing email

Another marketing campaign that backfired spectacularly was Airbnb’s “floating world” marketing email which depicted a water-themed house sitting on the surface of water and taglines that read “Stay above water,” and “live the life aquatic with these floating homes.”. No harm done, right?

Well, the idea of the campaign might have been to promote the beautiful water-themed houses but its timing could not have been worse. Why? Because it was also in August 2017 when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and engulfed Houston and the surrounding area.

It goes without saying that the campaign hit a nerve and was considered highly insensitive.



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1 thought on “11 Advertising Campaigns That Backfired Spectacularly”

  1. That McDonalds ad was not at all objectionable. In brief for those who haven’t seen it, a boy (maybe 10 or 11 years old) is asking his mom about his dead father. He is not bereaved, he does not even remember his father who died long ago. His mom points out a number of things in describing him. Each time, the thing about the dad is different than the son. (Sharp dresser, shiny shoes, good at sport, all the girls were attracted to him… while the boy notices his shirt untucked, his sneakers dirty, he kicks a soccer ball and flubs it, and some girls passing by only give him a look of disgust). But when they get to McD and he opens his fish sandwich box, his mom says ‘that was your dad’s favorite too’. For the first time he hears something he has in common with his late dad.

    Not a thing in the world wrong with that and the people who spend all their time looking for reasons to be offended should get a life. Nobody was using bereavement to sell sandwiches.


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