The Biggest Facepalm Moments of 2017


Is it too much to ask to do a little better?

Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

1. Skin clinic uses Resident Evil’s umbrella as its company logo.

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Medcare Skin Centre

2. Airbnb’s creates and pulls insensitive “teepee” ad.

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Bloomberg | Getty Images

3. Google shares the most misspelled words in the country, then misspells a word.

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4. Bar launches and removes “Pill Cosby” drink from menu.

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5. Dove releases body wash bottles to match the shape of women’s bodies.

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6. Adidas congratulates runners who “survived” the Boston Marathon.

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Ulrich Baumgarten | Getty Images

7. The Chainsmokers misspell “Pittsburgh” in a concert sign.

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Burak Cingi | Getty Images

8. Nivia ad campaign says “White is purity.”

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Bloomberg | Getty Images

9. The Oscars Best Picture mix up.

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10. Zara uses skinny models for a “curvy” campaign.

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11. A Gorillaz tech set his password to “2017.”

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Nasty Little Man

12. Wheel of Fortune contestant guesses the wrong letter.

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13. Ads run congratulating Republican leaders on now-aborted healthcare plan.

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14. Jewelry company puts up billboard that read, “It’s OK to throw rocks at girls.”

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We’ve all been there -- the moment where your palm hits your face with regret. But once it’s done, it’s done and the damage could be hard to repair.

Easily one of the biggest facepalms of the year occurred at the Oscars, when the wrong movie was announced for Best Picture. A tech for Gorillaz also had an oops moment when he set his password as “2017,” leading to Reddit users leaking the band's new music. Or there's Zara advertising its new denim for “curvy” women using rail-thin models.

Related: Biggest Social Media Fails of 2017

Sure, these things happen, and they will continue to, but is it too much to ask to try a little harder? Check out some of 2017’s most memorable facepalm moments.

Resident Evil and skin care couldn’t be more opposite. However, the Medcare Skin Centre in Ho Chi Minh City managed to make a connection.

The skin clinic recently unveiled its new logo, which looks almost the same as the umbrella in Resident Evil. Although it wasn’t on purpose -- the clinic wrote on its Facebook page that it was “very surprised by this coincidence.”

Here’s a billboard advertisement of the company and its new logo:


A post shared by Geek Culture (@geek_culture) on Jun 4, 2017 at 7:03am PDT

On May 30, Airbnb angered people after it launched an ad on its social media channels that many considered racially insensitive to Native American culture.

The post advertised a listing in Joshua Tree, Calif., for an “off-the-grid teepee” in “true Sioux style.” While Joshua Tree is nowhere near any Sioux territory, the incident also comes shortly after the protests at Standing Rock. 

"Airbnb is profiting off of racist stereotypes and that is unacceptable in a democratic society,", director of the Native Organizers Alliance and a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma Judith Le Blanc told BuzzFeed.

Other scholars and critics took to social media to share their disappointment and disgust with the campaign.

Shortly after the public backlash, Airbnb pulled the ad and apologized for the campaign. "We should not have used this language and we want to apologize to everyone for our poor judgement," an Airbnb spokesperson said in an email. "We have deleted these posts."

In honor of Scripps National Spelling Bee in the U.S., Google released a map of the most misspelled words by state. The search engine discovered these words by finding out which words come up the most when people typed in “How to spell…”

While the words were somewhat disheartening -- with “Wisconsin” being Wisconsin’s most misspelled word, and the words liar, angel, sense and nanny also making the list -- it turned out, we’re not the only ones who struggle with spelling.

When Google initially released the state-by-state spelling breakdown -- it too had a spelling error. The word “tomorrow” was found to be the most misspelled in Arizona and Colorado. However, when Google put this on its map, one spelling of tomorrow had fewer letters than the other. It has since replaced the incorrect map.

A new Washington, D.C., cocktail bar called Diet Starts Monday unveiled a new drink called the Pill Cosby. After causing a commotion on Twitter, the cocktail -- a hibiscus drink topped with empty pills -- has since been removed from the menu. The bar’s owners, John Geiger and Davin Gentry, told the Washingtonian the drink was meant increase awareness of the dangers of date rape in bars. However, most people just found it distasteful and insensitive.

The bar publicly responded to people’s disapproval on Twitter.

Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, which has been running for more than a decade, brings to light the importance of self-love and acceptance. From commercials to posters, the company portrays its message in typical advertising forms -- however, its most recent advertising efforts are steered toward its packaging.

The new campaign, called “Celebrate the Many Shapes and Sizes of Beauty,” has released limited-edition body wash bottles to match the shape of women’s bodies. The bottles come in six different sizes, from curvy and tall to petite and slim.

However, people aren’t quite catching on to it. They do think it’s pretty funny though, comparing Dove's efforts to syrup bottles and cartoon characters.  

As a brand, it’s important to double, triple and even quadruple check any content that you’re putting out. Especially if you’re a big brand such as Adidas.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened with a recent Adidas message. After the Boston Marathon, the company sent out an email to many of the runners who participated. But rather than congratulating them for finishing the 26-mile race, the company decided to applaud them for “surviving” the race. The subject line of the email read: “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”

Had this been any other sporting event, responses may have been different. But in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, people were not happy.

The company publicly apologized for its “insensitive” email.

Misspelling a word is easy -- and it’s the reason why we have spell check. Unfortunately, stage designers for a Chainsmokers concert didn’t do their due diligence.

During a sold-out show in Pittsburgh, the musical duo ended the show with a banner behind them that read “Pittsburg.” The musicians later apologized in a tweet for the spelling error, but have since deleted the post and any evidence of the mistake.

Of course, thanks to the internet -- nothing is really ever gone forever.

During a time of political discord in the U.S., with fake news and a rise in white extremist groups, you’d think brands would be especially cautious about the content they put on the internet.

Of course, some still don’t. Skin care company Nivea launched an ad campaign with the slogan “White is purity” -- and people were, unsurprisingly, not happy. In an attempt to promote its Invisible for Black and White deodorant, the ad was posted on Nivea’s Middle East Facebook page and showed an image of a woman with dark hair, dressed in white and sitting in a brightly lit room, with the words “White is purity” written over the picture.

The post stirred quite the commotion online, as people expressed their anger and disappointment over the ad, calling Nivea “racist” and “insensitive.” And to make matters worse, many right wing groups shared the spot.

The company pulled the ad and publicly apologized: “We are deeply sorry to anyone who may take offense to this specific post. Diversity and equal opportunity are crucial values of Nivea.”

This early flop might be the most memorable of the year. But it wasn’t just that the entire cast of La La Land went onstage to accept Moonlight’s Best Picture award, but everything else around the debacle.

When Warren Beatty opened the envelope, paused and handed it off to Faye Dunaway, who without hesitation announced La La Land, we knew something was up. But the cameras kept rolling, the cast came onstage and the film director and executives began their acceptance speeches.

From the viewer’s standpoint, there’s clear confusion in the background as an Oscars employee gathers the red envelopes and on stage it's revealed that Moonlight is the true winner of Best Picture.

“There’s a mistake. Moonlight won Best Picture,” La La Land’s producer Jordan Horowitz said. “This is not a joke.”

Turns out, Beatty was given the wrong envelope -- which read “Emma Stone” for “Best Actress” -- because the Price Waterhouse Cooper accountant responsible for handing out the correct envelopes was too busy tweeting backstage. Still, this whole kerfuffle could have been avoided had it not been for several little mistakes.

Sure, advertising is known for exaggerating the truth, but Zara’s “curvy” campaign didn’t so much exaggerate as it did confuse.

Debuting its new denim line for “curvy” women, the brand’s ad features two thin models standing side by side and looking back at the camera with the copy reading “Love Your Curves.” While the new line was supposed to be inclusive of all body types, people were upset with the advertising and its inherent irony.

With all of the hacks today, you’d think people would be pretty cautious about their passwords. Unfortunately, that’s still not the case.

Before its official release, fans found a way to break into a Vimeo account related to the band “Gorillaz” and leak some of its new songs.

After a few song titles emerged online, registered with Phonographic Performance Ltd., Reddit users began Googling titles. One Reddit user, omegapro200, discovered the leaked track “Saturnz Barz” on the private Vimeo page of Gorillaz lighting technician Dylan Byrne. Another Reddit user, mrmoosechill, attempted to get into the Vimeo account, trying out different passwords and ultimately hitting the jackpot when he guessed “2017.”

Can we really call this hacking when the password was so easy to guess?

We’ve seen plenty of disastrous fails on game shows such as Wheel of Fortune -- but this one might top the list.

On a March episode of Wheel of Fortune, a contestant was one letter away from victory. When guessing the last letter of Tennessee Williams’s famous Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire, the contestant guessed “K” instead of “M” in the word “NA_ED.”

The stupid mistake shook up the social media world, many viewers taking to Twitter to express their reactions to the contestant’s facepalm moment.

Some Republicans were a little too confident in their new healthcare reform bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act. In fact, one group got its commercials bragging about its passage ready to go.

Yet to their surprise, the bill did not pass … but the commercials aired. During March Madness games Friday night, viewers were exposed to a spot celebrating the would-be reform.

Led by the right-leaning American Action Network, the ads thanked some of the political figures involved in the failed healthcare plan for their "promise and replacing the Affordable Care Act with a better health care you deserve."

This Asheville, N.C.-based jewelry store took puns a little too far.

On a billboard off highway I-240 near downtown Asheville, Spicer Greene Jewelers paid for a billboard which featured gems in a variety of colors. Sounds nice, right? Read on.

Over the image is text that reads: “Sometimes, it’s OK to throw rocks at girls...”

The billboard caused upset in the town, as well as backlash on social media.

In response, the company apologized for its poor advertising choices on its Facebook page.

Spicer Greene Jewelers says it plans to change the billboard soon with another campaign, and has also vowed to donate 10 percent of its sales from the week of the incident to a local domestic violence shelter, it told local news network WLOS.

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