5 Most Ill-Fated Corporate Thanksgiving Parade Balloons
That was the end of Jeeves, as IAC phased out the character and changed the site's identity to Ask.com. By that time, however, nobody really seemed to care. Google (GOOG) had just gone public and IAC was getting busy buying up Internet afterthoughts such as About.com and the parent company of Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com. Ask.com was reduced to the logo on Bobby Labonte's NASCAR ride. By 2010, Ask.com was out of the search engine game altogether, leaving behind a string of question and answer pages that appear whenever you enter a question into a search engine.
Though Jeeves lingered much longer than some of his dot-com counterparts, he serves as a reminder of the fickle nature of the Internet. The state of Ask Jeeves was perhaps best summed up by Aziz Anzari's character Tom Haverford on NBC's Parks and Recreation last season after realizing his own fast-rising business venture was flickering out of existence: "My company is no better than a company where you ask a fake butler to Google things for you."
Balloon year: 2005
Irrelevance and bankruptcy happen. You can deal with that. Actually injuring potential consumers? That's much tougher to get over.
Especially when you injure those customers waiting near the site of your nearly completed megastore. Such was Mars' nightmare in 2005 when balloons shaped like M&M's chocolate candies snagged a streetlight in Times Square and hurt a pair of sisters with the falling debris. The 24,000-square-foot, three-level glass M&M's World store was little less than a year away from opening, and this was the first impression M&M's made on the new neighborhood.
The M&M World store opened without a hitch, but the wayward M&Ms pretty much ruined everything else. Once again new safety measures were introduced. Wind measurement devices were installed along the parade route, parade organizers kept balloons closer to the ground and a mandate was imposed: No balloons in winds of more than 24 miles per hour.
Stupid candy-coated chocolates.
The Aflac(AFL) Duck
Balloon year: 2011
This probably seemed like a heck of an idea when Aflac signed up for it a year before. A big inflated spot in the parade, a familiar animal mascot made larger than life. What could go wrong?
For Aflac and its duck in 2011, just about everything.