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on 14 May 2003
An unsuccessful attempt at piecing together several stories of industry failures over the past decades - most of which you would already know of - the failure of New Coke, Betamax (as compared to the success of VHS), Exxon Valdez (and the Alaskan oil spill.... why exactly is this a brand failure again???), and the Chevy Nova (Nova meaning no-go in Spanish) are some of the examples. It is clearly an attempt to fill up the book with stories (there are exactly 100) and there is a lack of any in depth analysis - apart from dividing the failures into 'Idea Failures', 'PR Failures', 'Culture Failures' etc. (you get it...) and I would certainly not recommend this book in any way apart from the fact that you are just looking for a collection of stories (most of which do have something to do with brand strategy - though some of them are startling in their obvious errors). Also, keep in mind that some of the examples are no more than a half page long. Save yourself the bother of buying this book - there are several others out there that are worth their salt...
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on 21 March 2008
I got this book for my marketing assignment and I was more than dissapointed. It can be interesting for leisure reading, but certainly this is not more than that. Some failures are described in less than a few sentences, especially in culture failures, which doesn't explain anything. It lacks depth of analysis and I do agree that it seems like a clips from the newspaper. Just flashy titles...
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on 13 May 2003
This book provides an insight into the biggest brand failures of all time and inevitably provokes a few chuckles. The smokeless cigarettes andKen dolls case studies had me laughing. However, as a marketing professional myself I can see that this book provides very useful and serious advice to any business worried about preserving its brand. Unlike the typical boring how to style business book this makes very refreshing reading.
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on 30 September 2010
This is a book that could only be described as a complete waste of money. I'm actually really mad that I've wasted good money on this.

Quite simply, this is just a collection of (as one reviewer has accurately described already) tabloid newspaper cuttings on 100 branding mistakes. This issues is that there is absolutely no detailed or expert analysis of the failures - what went wrong, who was at fault, why did things go wrong, what were the lessons learned, how did the brands bounce back, what happened to the brands? These questions aren't answered adequately - if at all; where they are answered, they are aimed at 5 year olds.

At first, each 'failure' has a page or page and half dedicated to it. As you read the book, the 'reviews' get shorter and shorter to the point where some of them are just a couple of sentences long. For example, number 57 "Coors in Spain" - a review of 22 words!!!!

There is nothing within this book that isn't available online for free. In short, a failure of a book. The author should be ashamed.
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on 31 March 2011
This is the first time I have felt moved (for this book read angry) enough to write a review. If the author was honest he would give me my money back. What a complete swindle. This book says nothing original. It simply quotes from newspaper articles and from other authors. I am being kind when I say "quotes". What actually happens is that the "author" simply lifts masses of material. Does the author have an original thought? No. Offer anything new? No. Never have I seen such a book written like this. I suspect this book was Vanity Publishing because the grammer is beyond belief. Please don't buy this book. There are millions of great reads out there. Don't waste it on this crap.
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on 20 May 2004
Branding is a ubiquitous, but critical marketing function that can produce spectacular successes and catastrophic blunders. Highly visible branding failures, such as the ill-fated "New Coke" or Harley Davidson's silly attempt to peddle perfume, are first-order marketing blunders. Yet, while branding is critical, one wonders if branding alone, as author Matt Haig asserts, is the main reason Land Rover sales declined and General Motors stopped making Oldsmobiles. Other experts might address such failures from a more expansive perspective, citing financial, competitive, managerial, global and environmental factors. Haig notes that non-branding mistakes contribute to failure, but focuses on branding as the prime cause. As a result, his brand-centered explanations can seem strained, but he overcomes this concern with a long list of vignettes that effectively drive home important points about the causes of branding failures. We suggest this book to marketing, advertising, PR and customer service managers so they can learn from other people's mistakes.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 25 September 2005
What we have here in this especially interesting as well as informative book is Haig's version of "the truth about the 100 biggest branding mistakes of all time." With this subtitle, Haig immediately sets himself up for lively disagreement concerning (a) the reasons for why certain brands fail and (b) his selection of the failures themselves. I value this book so highly because Haig (by assertion or implication) challenges his reader to examine her or his own current problems with branding. Frankly, his explanation of brand failure makes sense to me and all of the 100 failed brands he discusses serve seem worthy of examination. He identifies what he calls "the seven deadly sins of branding": amnesia, ego, megalomania, deception, fatigue, paranoia, and irrelevance. One or more is evident in each of the 100 brand failures on which he focuses.
Haig carefully organizes his material within ten chapters. It is easy enough for those who read this brief commentary to check out the Contents so I see no need to provide it. (Thanks Amazon!) He provides a "Lessons from...." section at the conclusion of most extended analyses. All of the usual suspects are discussed: New Coke, the Ford Edsel, Sony Betamax, McDonald's Arch DeLuxe, Campbell Soup (souper combo), Harley Davidson (perfume), Ben Gay (aspirin), Colgate (kitchen entrees). Pond's (toothpaste) in consumer products; as for dot.coms, Pets.com, VoicePod, and Excite@home. He even examines a number of PR fiascoes.
I take at least three lessons from Haig's book. First, even the largest organizations with the greatest resources (including some of the brightest people) can make bad brand decisions and sometimes repeat them with another failed attempt. Although they may be able to absorb or overcome such brand failure, almost all small organizations cannot. Second, that most brand failures result from launching a new product which encounters insufficient demand or marketing a current product for which demand is declining. Hence the importance of market research and especially of asking the customer. Ford did almost no research before introducing the Edsel nor did Coca-Cola before launching New Coke. Both line extensions were disasters. The overwhelming feedback from children surveyed indicated that they did not want Barbie's Ken to wear an earring but Mattel inserted one anyway. The third lesson is that the key to a brand's success (be it a product or service) is it authenticity. (You may prefer the word credibility.) Notice how intensively-hyped films may do well at the box office the first weekend but if they are duds, their sales tumble the following weekend and they are inevitably off the Top Ten list within a month or so, if not sooner. People are willing to try something new if they trust the provider. Lose that trust and there may never be an opportunity to re-earn it.
This is a lively, well-written, thought-provoking book. As I suggested earlier, its greatest value to each reader will be determined by what she or he has learned from Haig, and then, how much of that can be applied expeditiously and (more to the point) effectively.
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on 18 December 2008
The good rating from Financial Times persuaded me to buy this book, which turned to be absolute waste of money and time reading it. I read the FT every single day and couldn't see how such a serious newspaper could rate such a book with so high marks. The author simply dismisses companies with thier effortS to launch new products in new or existing markets. The author even claims that brands like 02 and Levi's have spectacularly failed which indeed is not true, 02 is a well known housename and the biggest mobile operator in the UK. The author is really annoying in his remarks why brands failed and wisely preaches his lessons if brands did so, they would have been successful. The book is just a collection of short statments without looking in depth in each case. Many of the cases in the book are just mentioned and the reader would never understand why brands failed, if they failed at all. I believe the author should have amended the book as the edition i bought is 2008 and talking how 02 spectacularly failed is absolute rubbish. In other cases i have found that the author is wrong and the information given in the book is incorrect and misleading. I WILL STRONGLY RECOMMEND TO PEOPLE NOT TO BUY THIS BOOK. IT IS NOT AN ACADEMIC BOOK WITH CORRECT DATA AND INFORMATION AND YOU THE READER WHO KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT MARKETING AND BRANDING WILL BE ANNOYED WHY SUCH A HORRIBLE BOOK WAS PUBLISHED.
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on 9 January 2008
Ignore Atuls review!!!

This is a fantastic book, I got it as a christmas present and couldn't put it down, it's an amazing and easy read. The stories are facinating and you find yourself asking how boardrooms of execs can make such stupid mistakes as the ones mentioned throughout the book, such as the lack of research when launching brands overseas!

Although some of the stories are known such as New Coke and Betamax the book goes into more detail explaining the how's and why's as well as the knock on effets these had on each company.

Clear structure and incredibly well written, can't wait to buy the follow up, Brand Royalty.

I agree with Atul's statement that it's not a marketing textbook simply because it's not supposed to be.
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on 11 March 2007
A successful attempt at piecing together several stories of industry failures over the past decades - some of which are pretty familiar - the failure of New Coke, Betamax (as compared to the success of VHS), The L'Oreal Crap stick (or is it perfume stick ?) and the Chevy Nova (Nova meaning no-go in Spanish) are some of the examples. It is a good attempt to divide the failures into 'Idea Failures', 'PR Failures', 'Culture Failures' etc.

I was in the midst of my MBA when I read this book and it surely gave me an edge when doing my presentations. The book may be about Brand Failures but in itself it is a success
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