Year in Review 2014

The Biggest Business Fails of 2014

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For as many days as there are in the year, it seems like there were twice as many business mistakes and blunders, from Tinder's legal battles and Uber's public relations woes to Lululemon's ecommerce foul-up and Clinkle's less than stellar product roll out. Most recently, the fallout from the Sony hack has been top of mind. Here are some of the most talked about business "fails" of 2014.

Walmart's Halloween faux-pas. Social media lit up and lit into the big box retailer when a screen shot of a section for "Fat Girl Costumes" on Walmart's website circulated around the internet. The page was expunged, countless Twitter apologies were sent out and the costumes were subsequently organized under the term "Women's Plus Size Halloween Costumes," but the damage was done.
Read more: Wal-Mart Eats Humble Pie After Publishing 'Fat Girl' Halloween Costumes

The mistaken iTunes chart topper. Pop superstar Taylor Swift's latest album was so highly anticipated by fans, that a week before its full release, eight seconds of white noise that was accidentally labeled as a track from 1989, shot straight to number one on the Canadian iTunes chart.
Read more: Taylor Swift Tops the Charts With This Surprising 8-Second 'Single'

Comcast's not-so-helpful customer service. The telecom company had a rough go of it this year when it came down to customer service. In one of the most talked about examples, this summer, a tech reporter named Ryan Block found himself on the receiving end of a relentless call with a customer service rep who didn't seem to understand why he wanted to disconnect from the service.
Read more: This Might Be the Most Infuriating Customer Service Call Ever
Read more: Comcast Apparently Gets Customer Fired, Breaks Every Rule of Business

Airbnb's questionable logo. The vacation apartment-renting startup has had its fair share of flack this year, and the rollout of the company's new logo was hardly immune to scrutiny, especially when the unflattering aesthetic comparisons about its similarity to another company's and certain parts of the anatomy started rolling in.
Read more: Love It or Hate It? Airbnb's New Logo Receives Mixed Reactions.

French for "oops" is just spelled 'oups.' Talk about surreal. Frances national railway company, The SNCF, accidentally ordered 2,000 regional trains that were too big for the existing train station platforms. Construction to widen the stations has cost the French government millions of dollars on top the $21 billion dollar shipment of trains.
Read more: France Orders 2,000 Trains Too Wide for Station Platforms

Who are you calling an armpit? A proposed New Jersey billboard promoting Dove’s new deodorant line read "Dear New Jersey, when people call you 'the Armpit of America,' take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove."  Thanks to an impassioned response, the ad was pulled before it even went up.
Read more: Dove Pulls NJ 'Armpit' Billboard in Wake of Criticism

Target's photo shop fail.  The retailer was criticized when images of a youthful model wearing a juniors’ Xhilaration bikini were clearly photo shopped to give the already slim girl a "thigh gap," but ended up nearly slicing her photo in half.  Read more: Target Falls for the Terrifying 'Thigh Gap' Trend  and Totally Gets Busted

Snapchat's fratty hack attack. Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s 20-something CEO, saw his frat past came back to haunt him as e-mails surfaced from his college days that some found off-putting and even misogynistic.
Read more: Oh, Snap -- Evan Spiegel 'Mortified' by Vulgar Frat Emails
Read more: No Apologies: On Hack, Snapchat Founder Says 'We Thought We Had Done Enough'

Amazon's Fire Phone fanfare that didn't quite pan out. Two months after the Amazon Fire phone's introduction into the market, the tech giant dropped the price of its $199 32 GB phone to 99 cents and its $299 64 GB model to $99.
Read more: So What If Its First Phone Flopped? Amazon Is Keeping the Fire Alive Anyway.

Network, network, network. Cleveland's chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators got a rude awakening when it came to light that the recipient of its 2014 Communicator of the Year award, a JobBank newsletter manager named Kelly Blazek, had a penchant for sending some seriously harsh replies to young job seekers.

Read more: One Woman's Nasty Emails Go Public, So She Apologizes
Read more: Will Nasty Emailer Kelly Blazek Lose Her 'Communicator of the Year' Title?

Edition: November 2016

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