Digital Transformation

USA Today mistakenly 'Rickrolls' in place advertisement

By Andrew Blustein | Reporter

October 15, 2018 | 3 min read

After a brief advertising snafu, USA Today might as well be called 'USA 2008'.

This morning (October 15), USA Today ‘Rickroll'd’ its audience. Where a normal online ad was supposed to appear, visitors were surprised by Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, a throwback to the original, more innocent trolling of internet yesteryear.

Maybe it was an innocent mistake, or maybe it was a disgruntled employee. Either way, this was the one time ad blockers got in the way of something truly magical.

USA Today

USA Today

The lighthearted, albeit unfortunate mistake got us thinking about some other memorable mistakes in advertising.

Do you know how to spell the country whose capital is Bogotá? Well in 2016, Adidas launched an outdoor advertising campaign promoting the ‘Columbian’ soccer team ahead of the Copa America. The 48 million-or-so Colombians were not pleased.

Then there was that time where Guinness Canada, of all brands, confused a four-leaf clover for a shamrock when promoting St. Patrick’s Day. The irony there was simply Joycean.

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Remember the #YourMum Twitter campaign from Penguin Books? It was meant to promote the ‘buy a book for Mother’s Day.’ Not so surprisingly, that one took a turn for the worse.

Marketing is hard, but is it that hard? At least USA Today delighted our ears with a classic tune.

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