. Everyone has seen a commercial or advertisement or looked at cheap car insurance sites like carinsurancequotations.org.uk and wondered just exactly what the ad company was thinking or how no one in the long chain of command from inception to release noticed anything askew. Some of those goofs are simply funny, while others are financially ruining. The following are two of world’s greatest marketing disasters of all-time.

Free Flights from Hoover

In 1992, the British division of Hoover announced that customers buying Hoover products for £100 or more would result in being awarded two free round-trip airline tickets. At first, the promotion was good only for trips inside of Europe. Some customers caught on early and began discreetly purchasing Hoover products to get plane tickets to more exotic European locations that generally cost more than £100/pair. Before Hoover caught on, they expanded the promotion to include tickets to the United States, which were always certainly over £100 just for one, let alone two.

Response to the Hoover promotion soared and soon, stores were fighting to keep Hoover vacuum cleaners in stock. Before the company realized what had happened, they were elated at the sales figures. It only hit them at what was occurring when it was time to buy the airline tickets, and the accountants started pointing out the bottom line figures. Hoover began refusing to honour the promotion, which led to the formation of a consumer group called the Hoover Holidays Pressure Group.

The Group purchased enough shares of Maytag, Hoover’s corporate parent, to attend shareholder meetings and pressure the company to make good on the promotion. When that failed, they took it to the courts, making headlines throughout Europe and the United States. The court cases went on for five more years, costing Hoover £50 million dollars and such a devastating drop in their reputation, Maytag was forced to sell off the company to Italian competitor, Candy.

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The Butcher Cover

The Beatles are the most popular rock band in the history of music. The members of the band each went on to be some of the most respected musicians in the modern era, and they were all multimillionaires, to boot. So, it is surprising to hear that there was one album made by the Beatles that actually lost money and culminated in a PR scandal.

It all started with a photo shoot with acclaimed photographer Robert Whitaker. He had an idea for a piece of conceptual art involving the Beatles and, thinking it was humorous, went along without a thought. Later, George Harrison would say he thought it was a bad idea all along, but remained silent at the time because John and Paul liked it.

The photo shoot required the Beatles to sport white butcher’s smocks. The Fab Four were then draped with fresh and bloody slabs of meat on their laps, shoulders, and in Ringo’s breast pocket. Finally, naked and beheaded baby dolls were placed on their shoulders and the head resting in their laps with the meat. The Beatles all smiled broadly as the shots were taken.

Later, looking over the shots, it was decided that one would be used as the cover of the British release of the single for Paperback Writer. Capitol Records decided to use the same picture on the U.S. release of the new compilation album Yesterday and Today. After shipping out advance copies to DJ and radio station execs, Capitol Records was flooded with outraged responses. Capitol Records apologized, made new stick-on covers and tried to recall all of the rest of the albums that had made it out. A combination of the cost of the recall, the bad press, and the fact that nobody wanted a compilation album in the first place, resulted in a financial disaster. However, the few remaining albums that made it out without getting a new sticker cover went on to be valuable collector’s items.