Brand Changes that Outraged Consumers

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Brand Changes that Outraged Consumers


There is an old saying that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But some companies try to make an even bigger leap by tweaking their already established brands. Alas, many of these changes did not go well with consumers and received too much backlash that they had to backtrack and revert to the tried and tested. 

The following are some of the most infamous and controversial changes of all time, according to Go Banking Rates, a website that makes finding competitive interest rates easier for the average consumer.


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Coca-Cola is arguably0 the most famous beverage company in the world today. However, it faced fierce competition from Pepsi in 1985, which drove the company to overhaul its product that resulted in the “New Coke.” Despite the great marketing effort for the new product, consumers did not react positively. Because of this, the company decided to bring back its classic formula and original branding. This resulted in the company getting a 39% market share while Pepsi had 28%. 


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Qwikster by Netflix

Before the Netflix that we know today became popular, the company released its DVD-by-mail service in addition to its streaming service called Qwikster and required a different subscription. This meant that customers who would like to have the service will have to pay $16 a month instead of $10. 

This prompted 800,000 Netflix subscribers to cancel their plans. In response, the company immediately killed the service before it even launched publicly. 


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Instagram Algorithm

Instagram has made a lot of changes over the years. Sadly, a lot of them did not go well with their followers. In 2016, it changed its timeline from a reverse-chronological feed to a format that showed “relevant” posts first. It might seem like a sensible idea, but the users were annoyed to see days-old posts on their Instagram timeline. This also affected a lot of Instagram influencers and merchants that depended on how the posts appeared on the users’ timeline.


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Dove’s controversial body wash bottles

When Dove launched a new line of body washes in the United Kingdom in 2017, the bottles came in different shapes. The company thought that it would help in improving the representation of the diversity of women’s body type. However, some consumers believed that this attempt for inclusivity was a failure. 

“This is a navel-gazing marketing exercise that patronizes women rather than celebrates them,” Sarah Benson, a London-based brand strategist, said in an interview. She explained that this advertising scheme had invited shoppers to make a judgment against the appearance of other people. 


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Sun Chips’ noisy "green" bag

A lot of companies are trying to become a more environmental-friendly brand. For example, Sun Chips tried to overhaul its Frito-Lay design that made its bags 100% compostable. Unfortunately, the consumers were not so fond of the biodegradable bags because they caused excessive noise. 

It might seem like a small inconvenience to save the planet from the harmful effects of plastics, but the noisy new bags made 44,000 people organize a Facebook group called “Sorry But I Can’t Hear You Over This Sun Chips Bag.” This resulted in the 11% decline in sales following the bag’s introduction.


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Starbucks’ New Rewards Policy

Recently, Starbucks launched a new rewards program where it made it difficult for its patrons to gain enough “star” points. The points allow people to qualify for a free beverage or food item, but based on this new rewards system, the customers will now only get two stars for every $1 spent. 

A lot of customers were outraged and aired their grievance on different social media platforms. 


Photo Credits: Panithan Fakseemuang (via 123RF)


Facebook’s News Feed

It might seem mundane to see your News Feed on Facebook, but when it was initially updated in 2006, many people were not so fond of it to the point that one group planned a boycott for a day. There was also a petition where hundreds of thousands joined a Facebook group called “Students Against Facebook News Feed.”




Vittorio Hernandez

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