Eight Stupidest Branding Practices

Actually, there are many more, but I just present these to get them off my brain and onto a page.

  1. Co-branded VISA and Mastercard. I mean, how great is that for a brand to get yourself connected to a bank that’ll rack your customers with 25 to 30 percent interest, an interest rate that used to put folks in jail. Perhaps it does have an affinity with big-ticket higher education.
  2. Anniversaries. OK, so a 10-year company anniversary is ok to celebrate, but what’s with it on the 5-year?
  3. Horny boy advertising humor. We are tired of the “duh” school of advertising where “size matters” and idioms are stolen from the bawdy side of life.
  4. Brand extensions and combinations ad nauseum. Do I want Kraft Mac and Cheese variations on snacks? Peanut butter Oreos? 20 types of Crest? Stop! That being said, I do like Dawn in the Cascade, so maybe I am not being consistent here.
  5. Using reality show actors for promotions. We don’t get the appeal of Donald Trump, and we can list a few others who we just can’t understand why they are everywhere.
  6. Erectile drugs. So over it. Our great medical/pharmaceutical complex in the United States has been taken over by sex therapists. How is it that these great companies are now doing latter day medicine shows, but on television? Shame, shame.
  7. Branding as a religion. Brands are merely words that connote things. While some companies are good at it, there is nothing magical about brands. While we will gladly talk of the brand personality of a hospital, the reality is that if the hospital is good, the brand will be good, and vice versa. So let’s stop turning brands into magic.
  8. Made up names. I wish people would use their names more when they sold things, and not coin new names. Not going to happen, especially as the world gets more complex, but it would be nice.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *