5 times bad placement turned great print marketing ideas into epic failures

5 times bad placement turned great print marketing ideas into epic failures

When you’re trying to promote your brand via print marketing, there is a long list of things that you need to think of. You need to have a clear end goal in mind, come up with a strong concept, pick the right materials and, last but not least, figure out where to place it. This last point is by far the most underestimated part of the process, but can be oh so vital to the end result. Because no matter how good you think your idea really is, without putting into the right context, it could turn into a big flop.

An important lesson for all marketers is that an advertisement is never seen just by itself. On television, a commercial is associated with the movie. In the newspaper, it can be associated with a news article on the same page. These are aspects of advertising that you simply can not always control, but are good to keep in mind nonetheless. In this blog, we have assembled five examples of good print marketing ideas that were placed in a – let’s say – unfortunate position, which then led to epic failures. 

Straight ahead: Diabetes

Straight ahead: diabetes. That’s probably not the message this McDonald’s billboard is supposed to send, but it is what we all get from it, right? Especially with all the criticism that the restaurant receives for being unhealthy, this placement is rather unlucky. Chances are that the diabetes billboard came after, and if that was actually done on purpose, we tip our hats to the marketers over at the diabetes charity. Well played.

A Million Ways to Fail in the West

We can’t make this up. For the movie ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’, Universal Pictures rolled out a big marketing campaign with even bigger billboards. And we like that. Why wouldn’t you go for larger than life marketing for a larger than life Hollywood movie? In this case though, the movie title looks very inappropriate on a hospital that is actually called Westwood Medical. We don’t know how long it took for this ad to be removed, but we are quite sure that somebody in the Universal office received an angry phone call that day.

The Walking Dead Stays On-Brand

The placement of this advertisement might be a bit too much on-brand. If you’re not familiar, The Walking Dead is a TV series about zombies, fictional creatures that are created through the reanimation of a corpse. Although these types of ads are broadly accepted in modern society, there’s just a couple of places where it could be inappropriate. A funeral home is most definitely one of them.

Don’t listen to the ad

Another example from the funeral business, and again it is a pretty sensitive one. The billboard has the text ‘come a little closer’ on it, which makes sense for a funeral home. But when that message is on the other side of the train tracks, it suddenly becomes more of a horror movie ad. 

Fasten your seatbelts

This example is the one that probably needs the least explanation. Let’s start on a positive note: Turkish Airlines found a really cool space to advertise their services, on the side of an escalator. And we have to admit, this ad would have been perfect if it had been printed the other way around. But one of your airplanes that looks like it’s on the verge of crashing? We’re not convinced that’s going to boost ticket sales…

Cringeworthy stuff right? Let us know in the comments if you have any examples of some placement failures yourself. If they’re really good, we might even add them to the blog!