Hoover loses £50 million after its free flights promotion fiasco

Hoover loses £50 million after its free flights promotion fiasco

Back in August 1992, household electrical appliance manufacturer Hoover launched a marketing promotion in a bid to move surplus vacuum cleaner and washing machine stock from its warehouse in the pre-christmas period.   The promotion promised free airline tickets to any customer that spent £100 or more on the company’s products and the offer initially…

Business Blunders , , ,

20th Century Fox gives away merchandising rights for Star Wars to George Lucas

20th Century Fox gives away merchandising rights for Star Wars to George Lucas

It’s fair to say that George Lucas changed the world, or certainly changed the film industry when he created the Star Wars entertainment franchise.   Back in 1977, the key players in Hollywood expected Star Wars to be a flop in terms of box office takings, but as we all know, it went on to…

Business Blunders , ,

An oversight at the Meux Brewery Company causes the 1814 London Beer Flood

An oversight at the Meux Brewery Company causes the 1814 London Beer Flood

The London Beer Flood occurred on 17 October 1814 at the Meux and Company Brewery in London’s Tottenham Court Road. A huge vat that contained over 600,000 litres of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the building to explode in a domino effect. Almost 1.5 million litres of beer gushed into the streets, creating a…

Business Blunders , ,

Western Union fails to see potential in a new device called the Telephone

Western Union fails to see potential in a new device called the Telephone

Back in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell had just sent speech down a length of wire via a new device that came to be known as the telephone. As Bell and his co-investors sought to monetize their invention, they approached the then telecoms giant of the day, Western Union who had an industry monopoly with the…

Business Blunders , , ,

Johan de Witt hands Manhattan over to Britain in exchange for nutmeg

Johan de Witt hands Manhattan over to Britain in exchange for nutmeg

The European powers were involved in bitter power struggles during the 17th century as they all vied for control of the international spice trade. Central to the constant conflict was the desire to gain access to the supply of nutmeg.   Nutmeg was valued for much more than its mere taste at that time and…

Business Blunders , , ,

The dithering of Sir Thomas Bloodworth results in The Great Fire of London

The dithering of Sir Thomas Bloodworth results in The Great Fire of London

The London of the 1660s was described as being a “wooden, northern, and inartificial congestion of Houses,” by the contemporary diarist John Evelyn. What Evelyn meant by this was that the city was unplanned and ad hoc as a result of its organic growth and unregulated urban sprawl. The combination of wooden buildings and congestion…

Business Blunders , ,

Montezuma hands the Aztec empire over to Spanish invaders believing they were gods

Montezuma hands the Aztec empire over to Spanish invaders believing they were gods

Tenochtitlán was the capital of the Aztec Empire and was situated on islands in Lake Texcoco, near present day Mexico City. Over a single century this civilization of hunter gatherers grew to become the Aztec empire, mainly because of their advanced agricultural methods. The empire grew to dominate the central Mexico area and by the…

Business Blunders , , , ,

14th century crackdown on wage increases leads to the 1381 English Peasant Revolt

14th century crackdown on wage increases leads to the 1381 English Peasant Revolt

At the beginning of the 14th century, most people in England worked in the countryside as part of an economy that fed the nation’s towns and cities and supported an extensive international trade system. Production was generally organised around manors, which were controlled by local lords, the gentry and the Church and governed through a…

Business Blunders , , , ,

Apple loses $30bn after the launch of Apple Maps on iOS 6

Apple loses $30bn after the launch of Apple Maps on iOS 6

On 19th September 2012, Apple released the first incarnation of its map service on iOS, thus replacing Google Maps as the default mapping service for Apple operating systems. Subsequent to the initial launch, the company received unprecedented amounts of criticism from users and media for incorrect directions, a lack of support for public transportation users…

Business Blunders , ,

UBS rogue trader Kweku Adoboli loses over $2billion of his employer’s money

UBS rogue trader Kweku Adoboli loses over $2billion of his employer’s money

The Swiss investment bank UBS lost more than $2billion when one of its employees performed a series of unauthorised trades. Kweku Adoboli was a director of the bank’s Global Synthetic Equities Trading team at its London offices, and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for fraud as a result of his crimes. The rogue trader…

Business Blunders , , ,