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Business blunders of 2009 Sandhya Santhanakrishnan. Business Blunders of 2009.
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Business Blunders of 2009 • To reach the pinnacle of the business world — the A List, as it were — you need some combination of intelligence, savvy, dedication, desire, and good fortune. Landing on the B List, however, is another matter altogether. • The companies, managers, leaders, and executives who’ve earned a place on dishonor roll are instead marked by their penchant for deadly and a-little-less-deadly sins: stupidity, greed, hubris, pride, rotten timing, and buzzards’ luck. Think of theirs as cautionary and educational tales. • Here are a few business blunders that shook 2009!
You’re marketing folks are pretty darn smart” • In August, 14 of U.S largest food companies — including PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Kraft, and General Mills — join forces to launch a multimillion-dollar food-labeling program, dubbed “smart choices” to guide consumers in selecting nutritious foods amid the nation’s obesity epidemic. • Soon, however, the program’s green checkmark logo is seen popping up on jars of fat-laden mayonnaise and boxes of Froot Loops cereal, a product that lists sugar as its top ingredient. • In October, after the FDA announces plans to crack down on misleading labelling, the program is voluntarily halted.
Don’t worry, it’ll be fine: Nobody listens to Oprah anyway. • KFC promotes its new Kentucky Grilled Chicken by having Oprah Winfrey tout a coupon for a free meal on her show. • The promotion goes the way you’d expect anything mentioned on Oprah to go: Viewers run to their computers, download more than 10 million coupons, and head to KFC in droves. • Mobbed stores run out of chicken and turn customers away empty-handed, leading Advertising Age to call the promotion “one of the all-time blunders” and company president Roger Eaton to post a mea culpa video on YouTube.
Let’s build a planet where employees outsource themselves! • IBM lays off thousands of North American workers, and then gives them the opportunity to apply for similar jobs in countries such as Brazil, India, Nigeria, and Slovenia — if they’re “willing to work on local terms and conditions.” • Big Blue magnanimously offers to help with moving costs and provide visa assistance!
We beat the competition ... and each other. • In early October, a heated exchange between the cabin crew and pilots of an Air India flightwith 106 passengers aboard breaks into a full-fledged fistfight in the main cabin. • The flight attendants claim a male purser was defending a female colleague who’d been sexually harassed by the cockpit crew. • Air India disputes reports that the cockpit may at some point have been left unattended; asserts an airline spokesman: “At no stage was safety compromised”
Also, we suggest you stop using words that begin with the letters “A,” “I,” or “G.” • In March, with the public seething over the size of federal bailouts paid to AIG and the bonuses paid to its executives, the insurance giant circulates a memo to employees advising that they avoid wearing any apparel with the AIGinsignia, hide their employee badges when leaving the office, and refrain from mentioning their employer in public conversations.
Cash for Coughers • In March, officials in Gong’an, China, seek to boost the region’s economy by ordering teachers and civil servants to smoke their way through 230,000 packs of locally produced Hubei cigarettes. • The government assigns consumption quotas and threatens those who don’t smoke enough with fines or even the loss of their job. • Two months later, after some haranguing from health nuts — who point out that a million Chinese die from smoking-related illnesses each year — the edict is rescinded.
Sources • www.randomclipart.com • www.bnet.com“Business Blunders of 2009” • www.istockphoto.com • www.blackcommentator.com