What a Mistake: Promotional Gifts Gone Wrong (Part One)

Promotional gifts can be an effective and successful way to market your business. Whether you are looking to recruit new customers, encourage sales, or advertise your company – a branded gift is an excellent way to get exposure.

As a company who specialises in promotional gifts such as promotional bags, clothing and mugs (plus many more) – we believe in the impact that they can have.


 However, it’s easy to make mistakes. In fact, even several big companies have made mistakes when working with promotional items.

We have decided to run a series in which we will look at some of these embarrassing mistakes. We have chosen some of our favourites below.

Royal Baby Blunder

Back in July 2013, the whole of the UK were eagerly awaiting the birth of the royal baby – the first child of Prince William and Catherine (Duke and Duchess of Cambridge).

A company in Dorset (who have never been name) decided to do something special in time for the baby’s arrival. They ordered 5,000 pink plates commemorating the arrival of the ‘Royal Princess’ – with a stock photograph of a baby girl and the words ‘To celebrate the birth of the Royal Princess’ emblazoned on the plates.

They were apparently tipped off that the baby was a girl and wanted to be ahead of the pack with their surprise.

Unfortunately for the company, the Duke and Duchess announced that they had given birth to a boy a few days later. Ooops!

McDonalds MP3 Misery

McDonalds are one of the most successful fast food companies in the world, which is why it was a massive surprise to everyone when they made a promotional giveaway fail.

In Japan in 2006, McDonalds gave away 10,000 MP3 players as part of a new promotional campaign. The ‘lucky ’customers that won these were happy to find that they were loaded with 10 free songs.

Unluckily, the songs weren’t the only thing that the MP3 was loaded with. They carried a virus that when inserted into a computer, was able to grab user passwords and information – to send straight to a hacker. Eek!

McDonalds were forced to purchase brand new MP3 players which were then sent out to affected customers.


If you want to avoid making any promotional mistakes like the embarrassing mishaps above – then let us help you out.

Here at EMC Ad Gifts, we can help you find the perfect promotional gift to effectively promote your business. We offer a unique range of advertising gifts that can be customised to market your specific brand – including branded paper and pens.

If you would like any more information about the service we provide, then please do not hesitate to contact us. You can give us a ring on 0800 170 7570 and a member of our helpful staff will be happy to help.

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