10 Embarrassing Missteps Big Businesses Hope You’ve Forgotten


When a major corporation makes a major mistake it leads, of course, to major embarrassment, as well as the loss of significant amounts of money in all too many cases. And for some it leads to the loss of jobs. But for the rest of us, the result is usually a source of amusement. Heads shake in wonderment at the thought of what “they” had been thinking, though nearly all of the corporate gaffes listed herein had substantial data supporting the actions which became classic mistakes. Some of the mistakes, such as Ford’s Edsel, became at once the symbol of a lemon and a classic coveted by collectors. The DeLorean falls into the same category, boosted by its appearance in film as a time machine.

Most corporate mistakes are not the result of snap judgments by executives, but the result of long study, test programs, and marketing experiments to determine the validity of new products or the proper means of marketing them to the public. Yet often they fail to attract the public, and sometimes they actually generate public revulsion. Such corporate mistakes become legendary, some urban myths. A longstanding urban myth is that the A&R representative for Decca Records who failed to sign The Beatles, Derek Rowe, did so because he decided that guitar groups were “on the way out.” That corporate misstep never happened, at least not like that, Derek Rowe wasn’t even present at the audition in question, and it was The Beatles’ Brian Epstein who rejected Decca’s offer to print Beatles records at Epstein’s expense. Here, however, are 10 examples of corporate missteps which did happen.

This is an encore of one of our previous lists, as presented by our YouTube host Simon Whistler. Read the full list!

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