From time to time, we like to take a look at business blunders for their instructional and entertainment value. Below we present the latest and greatest blunders:
Toys ‘R’ Us Presents Drug Dealers as Action Figures. In October 2014, Toys ‘R’ Us sold Breaking Bad action figures. The dolls represented 2 popular drug dealers from the Breaking Bad series, and each came with bags of cash and meth. Not surprisingly, the dolls were later pulled from shelves after a petition was created by a disgruntled parent.
Lululemon Founder Offends Women. Chip Wilson, founder of yoga apparel shop Lululemon, offended a number of consumers when he failed to take responsibility for an apparent defect in the company’s yoga pants. When asked about the tendency of the pants to pill, he responded, “Frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for [wearing Lululemon’s pants]…it’s really about the rubbing through the thighs…” Many angry people interpreted this as Wilson suggesting that they were “too fat” for the Lululemon brand.
Barilla Boycott. Chairperson Guido Barilla said on a radio show that his company would not create ads for gay people, saying “the family that we speak to is a classic family,” and “for us, the concept of the sacred family remains one of the most basic values of the company.” These comments led to a consumer boycott, and worse for Barilla, its competitor, Bertolli, then issued a pro-gay ad. Ultimately, Barilla was forced to apologize.
JC Penney’s Lower Price Strategy Backfires. When Ron Johnson took over JC Penney, he didn’t want to make consumers jump through hoops to receive discounts. Instead, he changed the company’s business model and began offering low prices year-round. Unfortunately, the company discovered that without consumers feeling a sense of urgency, their sales dropped dramatically. In-store sales fell by 19% and Internet sales dropped 28%.