5 brands guilty of insensitive (and just plain wacky) marketing

Campaigns run amok: Talking lady parts, a makeup campaign about murder and death, “civilizing” the afro hairstyle, and more.

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However, sometimes those best laid plans can run horribly amuck. And those of us in the research business (and elsewhere) are left scratching our heads. Really? No one gave this idea a second thought?

Research insights can provide tremendous value—across innovation, product development, customer experience, and brand voice and positioning. Unfortunately for these five brands, the insights team was likely left out of the equation as these campaigns were drafted.

MAC’s Rodarte campaign

Makeup company MAC teamed up with fashion line Rodarte for its “Juarez-inspired” collection. The Mexican border town of Juarez—once named the most dangerous city in the world—has been plagued by hundreds of unsolved murders of young female factory workers.

The proposed makeup line, which included product names “factory,” “ghost town,” and “Juarez,” along with models bearing a disturbing resemblance to corpses, incited public outcry about the brand’s insensitivity.

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