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Written by Carpe Diem in News,

Five Halloween Marketing Horror Stories

To get you into the spirit of Halloween weekend, weve put together some of our favourite digital marketing and PR nightmares. These should hopefully demonstrate why you should always think before you do, as the smallest scratch can turn your brand zombie… 

Out of control robots 

A few years back Microsoft decided to launch an AI robot Twitter account. They did this as a PR stunt and while it worked in terms of impressions and virality, the actual robot failed horribly.  

It all started well, the robot set out to interact with humans and it was doing nicely and behaving well… 

Microsoft AI Twitter


Then it took a turn, in less than 12 hours of being liveJekyll turned into Hyde as the AI started to learn from what people were saying. It tweeted out racist statements and after 24 hours the account was deactivated. You could call this one a failure or success as it went viral on Twitter giving Microsoft yet more exposure. But Frankenstein had to kill the monster it had brought to life. 

Pornographic ketchup 

Heinz Ketchup QR Code


Yes, you read the title correctly. Heinz had to apologise after the QR code on the back of their bottles – for a period of time – directed users to a porn website. The code, which people could scan using a smartphone in order to access content online, was supposed to direct browsers to a site where you could design your own label for a bottle. Instead, the URL was hosting other kinds of sauce. Heinz responded by saying the QR code domain had expired leading it to redirect incorrectly. Always check the label kids!  

Tis the season to…

Bloomingdales eggnog


We honestly don’t know how this Bloomingdale’s advert ever made it out of a creative workshop. As you can imaginethe brand took a huge negative hit on all forms of social media. But we don’t know if eggnog sales went up… 

They haven’t got your back

Easy jet backless seats


This is a situation that could have been dealt with easily but the way the social media team handled it made it all Pete Tong. When Matthew Harris turned up for his flight; his seat, along with the two next to him didn’t have any backs to them. He quite rightly took a picture to share on Twitter and rather than try and help him they asked him to remove the picture first. The tweet went viral with other users sending in their bad experiences with EasyJet. 

Indestructible glass…. NOT!

We’ve all seen it, haven’t we? The event was supposed to show off the qualities of Tesla’s latest model, a pickup truck with bulletproof windows and an armoured body that should be hard to damage.  

The tests on the body worked, the side panels were hit with a sledgehammer and minimal marks appeared. The issue came when the windows were tested.  

As you can see, from the video above, the test completely failed with the steel ball smashing the window, leaving Elon Musk looking like a vampire that’s seen a cross. Not surprisingly, after the event, Tesla’s stock dropped by 6% all because of a publicity stunt gone wrong.  

If you have more examples you’d like to share, please ping them to @carpediemagency on Twitter or if want to avoid anything like this happening to your brand and if youd like to talk to us about anything re: digital marketing, contact us below, wed love to hear from you.  


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Carpe Diem