10 worst strategy changes

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1. Mid-calorie soft drinks leave bad taste

Experts said consumers couldn't differentiate Coke's C2 and Pepsi Edge from diet soda. Pepsi admitted in May, a year after launch, there wasn't a clear market and said it would kill Edge. Coca-Cola has issued no such public proclamation, but C2 is pretty much dead in the H20.

2. The value-hair-care washout

After buying Clairol in 2001, Procter & Gamble had 10 shampoo-conditioner brands on its hands. By 2002, it turned three of them into value brands, including Daily Defense. By early 2005, P&G killed Daily Defense along with Daily Renewal and later put the third, Pert, up for sale. Rival value players Suave and Alberto VO5 proved there is more to a value brand than just being cheap.

3. The great diaper dustup

Kimberly-Clark Corp. earlier this year launched a line extension of its Pull-Ups training pants aimed at speeding potty training. The move represented a flip-flop from K-C's stance in 2004, when it tested but rejected a product like rival's P&G's new Pampers Feel 'n Learn diapers. K-C had also pooh-poohed to retailers that P&G's product had been tried before and failed. P&G disagreed and sued K-C for defamation and false advertising; ultimately, it was settled out of court.

4. GM's behind 'The Times'

General Motors Corp. pulled its ads in April from The Los Angeles Times in protest of a string of negative editorial. The move got broad news coverage and generated even more negative coverage. The auto giant, which spends tens of millions of ad dollars in the nation's fourth-largest paper, resumed advertising after a four-month hiatus.

5. GM Part II

Under new leadership, GM's Saab brand changed its advertising from a "State of Independence" theme and returned to its fighter-jet roots with the tag "Born From Jets" to try to boost awareness of its aircraft-inspired design and performance. Lowe, New York, handled both. Saab had driven down the aircraft heritage ad road in 1997 and in the late 1980s. If that strategy was so successful then, why didn't it last?

6. Subway still hungers for Jared

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, launched its first major work for the fast-feeder during the Super Bowl, sans spokes-dieter Jared Fogel. Then it decided to bring him back-but Subway ended up scuttling the Jared blitz and firing Goodby in July. Sales slid as much as 10% after a spell of ads without Jared, so he's back again, this time courtesy of McCarthy Mambro Bertino, Boston.

7. Miller's High Life man gets a sex change

Miller Brewing Co. dropped its Miller High Life man, whom many consider among the best, long-running campaigns in the category. The gruff, macho, off-screen blue-collar spokesman was replaced with the "Girl in the Moon," seen on the beer's bottle label in ads from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

8. Drumbeat of sameness

Mitsubishi North America, starved for new products, decided to move the initial on-sale date in early June ahead 10 days for its redone 2006 Eclipse coupe. And for the launch, Mitsubishi shifted its positioning to "Japanese cool" with new agency BBDO in ads featuring Kodo drums to separate its ads from other automakers.' Within weeks, Mitsubishi had to recall the car twice. Ford's Land Rover brand and GM's Pontiac brand have TV and print ads with a similar sound and look.

9. Cruise control

Tom Cruise damaged his own brand as the gossip rags portrayed him as a bizarre cross between a giddy, in-love schoolboy and a mystic with a strong anti-psychiatric bent. A year after dropping his longtime publicity handler to hire his older sister, the A-list actor and Scientologist ended up in a PR debacle, angering women and even Brooke Shields.

10. Not so devilishly clever

When Pfizer saw market share for Viagra start to slip in the wake of newcomers Cialis and Levitra, it dumped Cline Davis & Mann as its agency, went with McCann Erickson and created a more suggestive campaign. In print and TV ads, a randy man is shown with the 'V' for Viagra appearing behind his head to also give the look of devil's horns. Didn't last long. This year, the Food and Drug Administration said the ads were misleading and the horns disappeared, changing the entire look of the campaign.

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