Sir: I was intrigued by your News Analysis (1 June) about marketing disasters of our time. I have worked in the sales promotion industry for my entire career, so can vouch for the fact that most of them and many more that "got away" are certainly true.
My own favourite concerns my very early days in the industry when a rather wild-eyed salesman ran into my office one morning, gave me a small polystyrene pot of earth and said, "Put some water on it and I will be back in three days."
Sure enough, he returned and in the polystyrene pot was a perfect four leafed clover. "It works every time," he said, "how many do you want?"
I declined his offer, but a major petrol retailer thought this brilliant and bought millions. Sad to say, the first oil crisis of the 1970s struck and it was thought to be inappropriate to be giving away four-leaf clovers to motorists who had queued for four hours to get a gallon of petrol.
Undaunted, the said petrol company stored the millions of four-leafed clovers in a convenient warehouse. Less fortunate was the fact that the warehouse leaked, the seeds germinated, and the warehouse, well, it collapsed.
UK Sales Promotion Consultants Association
5 JuneReuse content