4 Marketing Case Studies You Memorize

It's been a while since I've been in business school, but some lessons still stay with you. Anyone who has taken Marketing 101 will nod in agreement when you bring up 'New Coke' or having to use a SWOT Analysis. But years and years later I'm still referencing these case studies for their epic fails or marketing mastery. Here are 4 case studies you should know, revisit, or learn.


New Coke: The Emperor of Marketing F*ck Up's

We highly recommend reading this one if you're having a bad day or just messed up yourself. Because nothing compares to the drink giant's classic failure of launching New Coke. Just...wow. 

In 1985 Coca-Cola was feeling pressure from Pepsi's aggressive marketing campaign that included the iconic Pepsi Challenge and commercials featuring Michael Jackson. While still being the #1 soda beverage in the world, they started to feel they needed to do something before losing more market share to Pepsi. 

Thinking it was the taste of the product that needed to be refined. Coca-Cola spent $4 million testing and creating a new formula for Coke that studies showed tasted better than the old Coke and Pepsi.

Here's where the epic fail came in. Executives decided they couldn't have two Cokes being marketed at the same time so they scrapped the original....the one that was the #1 beverage in the world.

Customers reacted strongly with an enormous backlash, negative media, and actual boycotts of the new product.

Coke didn't take into account the emotional connection customers had to the 99-year-old brand or the formula that had made it #1 in the first place. Eventually, they brought back the old Coke and the whole thing became a marketing legend.

Sit back with a soda yourself and read the entire thing here.


Tylenol Recall. Turning a First Class Crisis into Opportunity.

What happens when the unthinkable occurs and people start to die because of your product? In 1982 a few people in Chicago died after it was discovered that the Tylenol they purchased had been laced with poison. 

Not only was it a business crisis but it was a public health one as well. The reason this is now a case study for how to handle a PR disaster is because Tylenol acted responsibly and immediately. They recalled millions of dollars worth of product, were transparent with the public, and quickly created and enforced new company-wide safety standards to prevent it from happening again.

Read the entire case study here


Cards Against Humanity Offers a Price Increase and Sales Spike

Probably the most baffling and hilarious case study you'll ever ready but brilliant nonetheless. If you're familiar with the game Cards Against Humanity, you know their brand is built on being irreverent, edgy, and unconventional. So it makes perfect sense that for Black Friday they offered a sarcastic promotion where for a limited time you could get their game for $5.00 more than its regular price.

The interesting part is when they saw a sales spike and were the best selling toy or game on Amazon for the day.

Read all about it here.


Volkswagen- Think Small

This is one the oldest marketing case studies around and yet it holds up for daring to be different, stand out, and understand your brand. In a time when print advertisements had every bit of information you could possibly need with no white space to spare, Volkswagen decided to go for minimalism. The ads still stand out today for their eye-catching design, clever caption, and captivating branding. 

We are in awe of how perfect these ads are and can only imagine how they must have looked to the sales-flyer ads that were commonplace back in 1960's.

Read all about them here.


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