Marketers are human, after all. We want to look like flawless experts to our clients, but we know that surface appearance usually looks better than reality.

What happens when the reality becomes known, and it’s not flattering?

One recent case occurred in Australia. The Asos online fashion store printed 17,000 bags and there was a typo in the printing.

They handled it gracefully and earned a lot of goodwill in the process. They admitted the error, with humor, on Twitter. People loved the story and interacted with it over and over. People even are clamoring for the misprinted bags when they place an order.

You can read about this whole affair here: How ASOS turned an embarrassing typo into a chance to connect with 40,000 customers.

There are other well-publicized marketing failures throughout history. A lot of them have to do with product names in languages the marketers were not familiar with.

Not all of them are true, though. You have probably heard that 50 years ago, General Motors named a small Chevrolet the “Nova”. In English, that has a nice futuristic ring to it. But they tried to sell the Nova in Latin America, too, which caused a problem, or so the story goes. Why? In Spanish, the name sounded like “no va”, which means “it doesn’t run.”

Fortunately for GM, this urban legend has been debunked by Snopes. They did sell the Nova in Spanish-speaking countries and it did well, because “Nova” (which means “new star” in Spanish as well as English) nd “no va” don’t really sound too much alike to someone fluent Spanish. Read more here: That Story About the Chevy Nova? It’s a No Go.

We have had our own fair share of marketing errors, including typos, showing up on the wrong conference call to speak, and more.

I can’t count the number of times I have received an email saying the marketer needed to correct a faulty URL in a prior email. These corrections have come from nearly every autoresponder I subscribe to.

When you make an error, it is hardly ever a fatal one. Use your creativity mixed with a little humility and the ability to laugh at yourself to recover.

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