10 American Businesses and Their Dumb Moments

Sometimes big businesses make some of the stupidest business decisions ever. Remember the Microsoft iLoo? Although many have ruled that it was a hoax and an April Fool’s day prank by Microsoft, the fact that the press release came out on the 30th day of April sure does raise a red flag. That was a disaster for Microsoft in terms of business idea and decision itself. However, Microsoft is not alone in this group. We have compiled 10 American Businesses that made some of the stupidest decisions ever. Kick back, relax and get ready for a chuckle while we share with you some of the dumbest moments of these American businesses.

1. Northwest Airlines

North West Airlines

This has to be one of the craziest thing done by a company. In 2007 when Northwest was laying off ground workers, they gave their workers a little guide to cope with job loss. The guide was titled “101 Ways To Save Money.” Some of the tips included : don’t be shy to go dumpster diving, make your own baby food food if you have to, go for a walk in the woods instead of a candle light dinner, etc. You get the idea.

2. General Motors

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GM wanted to give the power to the web users which backfired big time. GM partnered with NBC to cross promote The Apprentice with Chevy Tahoe and ran a contest on a site called chevyapprentice.com (now offline). They provided users with video and music they could use to make a viral video, but the users had the freedom to choose whatever they wanted to write. Well, the idea backfired and users made videos that went viral such as “Global warming isn’t a pretty SUV ad – it’s a frightening reality.”

3. Comcast

Comcast

I am sure many of you remember this one. Although Comcast now tries to be the best when it comes to customer care through @comcastcares and what not, back in the day they were pretty bad. Not exactly Comcast’s fault but employee is a part of the company. This is what happened : Comcast cable repairman went to a customers house to fix something. When the customer got back home from work, he found the repairman snoring on his couch. The customer ended up making a video which became a viral hit on the web.

4. Starbucks

Starbucks

This was a major blunder in marketing. Starbucks asked a coffee bartender to email a free iced coffee coupon to friends and families. Well, there were no codes and no restrictions and the email went viral. It was probably their worst nightmare. The email started going from one inbox to another and since it didn’t have any instructions or expiration dates really, it was being forwarded from one person to another. Starbucks later yanked the offer but ended up facing a class action lawsuit by one customer who didn’t get to use her coupon.

5. Microsoft

Microsoft

If you don’t know about this, you will get a kick out of it. When Microsoft launched Windows Live Search in 2007 it launched another product named Windows Live Search. The first searched the web for web users like you and me and the second was a business oriented tool used for searching company intranets. Two different products, exact same name.

6. AOL

AOL

AOL was trying to reach out to the academic community so it released the search queries of over 600,000 users. Although AOL said that no one could be identified and their personal information was hidden, New York Times and other news outlets identified people from based on “searcher no.” One woman’s name and her search queries such as “women underwear” and others were all public information, thanks to AOL.

7. Bank Of America

Bank of America

Talk about masterminding one of the dumbest outsourcing ideas ever. When Bank of America realized that outsourcing tech support to India would be much cheaper, they started laying off tech support employees. The laid off employees were given a severance package which they were eligible only if they trained their replacements. These employees were in San Francisco, CA and their replacement in India. No, the company wasn’t paying for them to fly out to India either.

8. Greyhound

Greyhound

Way to put your company’s name down the shitter. One of the Greyhound bus decided to empty their toilet while the bus was moving. The toilet content ended up soaking up another vehicle that happened to be right behind the Greyhound bus. The couple and 3 children in the SUV ended up getting drenched with feces since their sun roof was open at the time. Greyhound got sued for $300,000. Could have waited to empty that shitter, much better than driving your company’s name to the shitter.

9. Fiji Water

Fiji water

This LA based bottled water company launched a magazine ad for it’s product which said “The Label Says Fiji Because It’s Not Bottled in Cleveland.” Of course, this pissed off the officials in Cleveland. As a result they decided to do some tests and found that the bottled water actually contained 6.3 micrograms of arsenic per liter (the Cleveland city water had none). Well, the company had to do something to shut Cleveland officials mouth so they ran their own little test and said “It doesn’t contain 6.3 micrograms of arsenic per liter, it only contains 2 micrograms per liter).

10. McDonald’s

McDonald's

Arch Deluxe Burger (launched in 1996) was geared towards adults and the slogan was “The Burger With The Grown Up Taste.” The idea behind it was to slap a few more things onto the burger and make it stand out from the rest. Well, as you can imagine this was one of the most expensive failed products of all time. Since the burger was supposed to target adult crowd, they even created commercials showing Ronald McDonald’s doing adult activities such as playing golf, dancing at the night club and having sex (ok we made this one up). McDonald later discontinued the service as it was hurting their existing brand.

Those were some of the dumbest decisions made by some of the biggest American Brands. I am sure there are a lot more and you very well might know a few of them. Please take a moment and share with us. Also, who do you think among these ten take the cake when it comes to “Winner of The Dumbest Business Decision Ever?

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