10 Marketing Fails Of Luxury Brands

11 March 2021

Luxury Brands Usually Come up With Great Marketing Ideas. But Sometimes, These Ideas Are Just Epic Fails.

Have you ever had a Facebook memory pop up, and you’re so embarrassed because the post was so f**king cringeworthy? Yep, we’ve all been there. Multiply that cringe worthiness by a million, and that’s what these luxury brands experienced due to their marketing fails.

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With that out of the way, let’s get straight into the article.


Benetton “No Girls Allowed” Policy

With this scenario, it was a case of “sorry, not sorry.” United Colors of Benetton posted an image on Instagram featuring 3 young boys wearing their branded clothing, with the caption “Sorry ladies. Girls not allowed!”

As a brand that usually does well with being all inclusive, this caption was a huge step backwards and they faced severe backlash.

They did eventually issue an apology but listen to what they said to decide if you think it was heartfelt or not.

“We’re very sorry that our message struck the wrong chord with some of you. We only meant to be playful in this post, and we apologize if we have unintentionally offended anyone.” There is more, but the if we offended anyone, makes this apology null and void before they even continue.



Dolce and Gabbana Calls Customers Fat and Stupid

No stranger to controversial comments is Stefano Gabbana, the co-founder of Dolce and Gabbana. One marketing fail that stands out was in April 2017, when he posted a picture of their Fall 2017 sneakers.

The sneaker was emblazoned with “I’m thin & gorgeous!” and the wording did not sit well with many. People complained that the slogan was shaming people for not having an ideal body shape. And fair enough, except that Stefano Gabbana exacerbated the situation and instead of apologizing for the faux pas, went on to insult many of his loyal customers.

We’d love to say this is the last Dolce and Gabbana story, but sadly, there’s more – so stay right where you are.



Z Palette Were Called Out for Bullying

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, any form of bullying is a low blow and Z Palette were completely out of line when they bullied customers online.

Z Palette are the creators of the original patented empty magnetic makeup palette with a clear window. When they launched an Instagram campaign to promote Z Potter, an electric appliance to melt make-up into palette pots, many felt $85 was too expensive. And yes, it is a luxury brand, but it doesn’t mean you can bully people if they comment that the product is overpriced.

Some of their comments included, “Thank god we don’t need your money,” and, “You look like a cheap date, but we’re not messing with you.” And Aluxers, here’s the craziest part… they never, ever apologized.

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Jenner Sisters Try to Profit off Dead Musicians

Tupac Shakur, the Doors, Metallica, Pink Floyd and the Notorious B.I.G. are some of the dead musicians that Kendall and Kylie Jenner launched on clothing in 2017. It was part of their line of “vintage” T-shirts. Along with the image of the dead muso was a superimposed photograph or logo associated with the sisters, and each tee sold for $125.

Notorious B.I.Gs mom commented, “This is disrespectful, disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!” Sharon Osbourne also had a stab at the girls, stating, “Girls, you haven’t earned the right to put your face with musical icons, stick to what you know…lip gloss.”

At least the girls apologized profusely, but it isn’t the first incident, and it won’t be the last.


If you want to know more about Kylie Jenner and her journey towards becoming a billionaire at such a young age, check out How Kylie Jenner Became a Billionaire from Makeup.


Saint Laurent and National Women’s Day

It’s the day before International Women’s Day, and Saint Laurent publish this image on their Instagram account.

It’s a young woman, wearing high-heeled roller-skates, fishnets and a view that leaves little to the imagination.

Some argue that this image focuses on the femaleness of the model, basically stating how women are generally perceived. However, French advertising watchdog disagrees and claims the campaign was not in line with advertising codes regarding respect for dignity and decency. Many took it as one of the most sexist marketing fails.

No apology was issued, and fingers were pointed at the young, then new creative director at Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello, who was blamed for upping up the sexual content of the brands marketing campaigns.

This is not the last time you’ll hear from the brand, more to come.



Dior’s Saddlebag Debacle

Maria Grazia Chiuri is the current creative director of Christian Dior, and as the New York Times reported, “She will be the first woman to lead the creative side in the label’s 69-year history…”

She decided to bring back the iconic Saddle Bag, which was huge in the early noughties.

Chiuri had roughly 100 influencers posting about the bag at the exact same time, including the likes of Miranda Kerr, and fashion bloggers Susie Bubble, Bryanboy and Chiara Ferragni. Anyone following the brand would have been inundated with #DiorSaddle.

The problem with this campaign is that very few people mentioned that it was an advert or an endorsement, which is mandatory on Instagram. And now it’s just unnecessary negative press that the brand is saddled with.


Audi #paidmydues

The #paidmydues campaign by Audi was a bit odd and so, it has become a part of our list of marketing fails. And we get it, Audi was keen to try something different but after posting a video of 3 entrepreneurs giving a small insight into their journey in life, the end message was completely lost on viewers.

The goal was commendable. Audi wanted to focus more on the drivers of their vehicles then their actual cars. However, the videos didn’t quite make that point clear. Many social media commentators said the ad campaign distracted from what Audi does best, and that’s make great cars.

The campaign only lasted 2 weeks, and they went back to their usual way of showcasing their brand – by showing off their beautiful cars on Instagram.


YSL Wiped Out Their Instagram Account

What some call a rather juvenile move, Saint Laurent deleted the history of their Instagram account. So, why the drastic decision?

They wanted to remove all traces of their former creative director, Hedi Slimane, and did so quite unceremoniously. After the Insta clean-up, they started afresh with one image – that of Anthony Vaccarello whom we mentioned earlier. He took over as creative director from Slimane.

Like many messy divorces, one of the causes was money. Slimane had to go legal and was compensated $11.5 Million from Saint Laurent, who had underpaid him during his last year with the brand. Slimane was credited with getting sales of Saint Laurent over €1 billion mark in 2016.

It was thanks to him that the word Yves was dropped, new headquarters opened 9,000km away from its Paris headquarters, in LA and he changed the stores and created new, and interesting advertising campaigns and added a new typeface.

It appears that moving forward, Slimane luxury group, Kering, couldn’t agree on issues regarding a new contract, and Slimane returned to LA for a more relaxed lifestyle.


Chanel = Boring

If you’re going to start a social media account for your brand, luxury or not, it has to benefit the viewer. And you might argue that a luxury brand has very few buyers in comparison to more affordable brands, but it doesn’t mean you can be lazy and not post interesting, and intriguing content.

Chanel doesn’t have a specific marketing campaign that has failed, but you could say that all their marketing campaigns are fails. Why? Because they’re just so f**king boring.

And if that’s the case, why even bother having a social media account? You’ve got your clientele, keep them happy and don’t insult them by posting the same repetitive content online.

With Chanel, it goes deeper than just the boring content on social media. Fashionista described their Spring 2021 collection as follows, “… the collection itself lacks any of the charm, let alone the glamour of red-carpet dressing. And, frankly, there’s not much very lively about it, either.”

A while back, Washington Post said, “Chanel is uninspired this season,” and even the late Karl Lagerfeld once commented that “nobody needs Chanel.”

Aluxers, we’ll tell you what is definitely not boring, our line of merch which you can get by going to Go to alux.com/merch.


Balenciaga – Not Safe for Kids!

If you’re following Balenciaga on Instagram, you might have inadvertently come upon this creepy ad campaign launched for their Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection, which was one of the weirdest marketing fails.

They teamed up with Copenhagen-based artist Yilmaz Sen, and the ads feature the model’s bodies twisting and contorting into positions that are not humanly possible.

It’s the stuff of nightmares.

Another of their campaigns was equally nightmarish, which was a creepy prophecy of a dystopian future. This was for its Summer 2020 collection and featured robotic models portraying news anchors and reporters and honestly, its creep AF.

So, how did Twitter respond to this campaign?

“This will give me nightmares.”

“What the f?-?-?k?”

“Woooow so whacky so weird. Whoooooaaaa how random and funny. It makes me ready to go blow 3000 dollars on an outfit.”


So, our parting question to you Aluxers – do you think this campaign was a failure or a success?

We’d love to hear from you.