Comcast, Cosby Make List of 2015’s Top Branding Scandals

Cosby's brand was so strong, he made the Advertising Hall of Fame.

It’s never too early for a “Best Of The Year” list, and a new one from Inc. magazine caught my eye. It’s a list of the Top 10 Branding Scandals of 2015.

The top scandal involved Amazon and the blistering expose from the New York Times reporting that the company has a “bruising” and “harsh” corporate culture. It also detailed how the cut-throat environment makes grown men cry at their desks, and encourages people to tattle on each other. Amazon called it a misrepresentation and issued this strongly worded response.

The No. 2 and No. 3 scandals have Philly connections. No. 2 involved Bill Cosby, who saw his image as a lovable grandfather type shattered after allegations of sexual assault.

“His personal brand was among the most valuable in Hollywood, landing him in 2011 a spot in the Advertising Hall of Fame. However, the Cosby empire tumbled like a house of cards when dozens of women came forward accusing him of drugging and molesting them. Lesson learned: Just because you think you got away with it doesn’t mean it won’t come back to bite you,” wrote Inc.

The No. 3 top branding fail involved Comcast, which “changed a customer’s name when he cancelled service from ‘Ricardo’ to ‘A**hole,’ ” said Inc. The lesson learned? “Customer service is your brand, so don’t create a culture that despises customers.”

Other scandals from the list: The 19 Kids and Counting family that lost its wholesome image after allegations that son Josh molested his sisters and dated a porn star; and Volkswagen, which admitted that its software helped it cheat emissions tests.