Top 10 Most Controversial Brands In 2022

Most Controversial Brands

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Not every brand receives the highest praise in customer reviews. While every company gets a bad review now and then, some companies are constantly under fire for bad business practices, poor marketing decisions, and allegations against higher-ups within the company.

You can avoid ending up in the same position by learning about their mistakes and how hiring a brand management team has saved them time and time again.

Keep reading to learn the top 10 most hated brands at the start of 2022, so you don’t follow in their footsteps. 

1. United Airlines

The airline you choose completely impacts your flying experience. While some airlines continue to build relationships with guests, like Delta, United has faced backlash from customers for lengthy delays and poor service. 

Reports of United Airlines forcibly removing passengers have also surfaced in recent years, which only enraged the public more. The damage to the airline’s reputation is done, but brand management has kept them from going down entirely. 

Services offered by BRANDefenders can reduce the amount of harm done to an airline’s reputation. Our brand management is key to navigating controversial headlines, from removing negative content that makes the company look bad to restating the narrative from another perspective. 

2. The Trump Organization

Anyone unfamiliar with the Trump Organization before the 2016 U.S. election is now well aware of this company. Many businesses fall under the conglomerate, such as golf courses and hotels, which all bear the Trump seal of approval.

Organized by the former president of the United States, many hate the company simply because it bears the Trump name. However, others are aware of the shady history and business dealings that follow the organization. Yet despite the numerous sex scandals, discrimination scandals, and alleged mafia ties, the brand remains strong.

Online reputation management (ORM) services can salvage big companies’ reputations like the Trump Organization. BRANDefenders offers a variety of services that can keep your reputation from being brought down by the nefarious dealings of the higher management.

3. Electronic Arts

It’s not unheard of for a big company to buy a smaller one and continue to release games under its name. However, it’s almost like a death sentence when EA purchases a company. The company is notorious for its microtransactions and frivolous sequels that fans deem an obvious cash grab. 

Part of the criticism includes focusing on multiplayer games, spewing out pointless sequels each year, and cutting support for single-player games. A single-player game has no need for microtransactions, limiting the company’s profits. While none of this is inherently wrong, it leaves a bad taste in gamers’ mouths when a company puts profits over quality.

Brand management has kept the company from downfall, as they still maintain loyal fans and a handful of successful franchises that can’t be found elsewhere. With services offered by BRANDefenders, your company can do the same and build a stronger base of supporters by controlling the narrative and spinning it in a positive light.

4. GameStop

The motto “Power to the Players” is all well and good until the players no longer feel like they have any power. Once the best place to purchase used video games, to save a couple of dollars, now you may spend extra on a used copy while a new one sits right next to it.

Additionally, employees’ performance reviews are tied to how well they sell warranties that customers don’t need. Aside from paying minimum wage, employees are pressured to sell add-ons and downloadable content to customers whether they’re interested or not. This makes customers feel just as pressured and less valued as players.

Negative reviews can be buried with brand management services, which include unhappy employees that threaten the integrity of your brand. Quality ORM makes sure that any unfavorable feedback is controlled so that it won’t hurt the company, and false accusations or disgruntled team member narratives that have no evidence disappear.

5. Uber

Ridesharing has become a convenient, more affordable way to get around without resorting to taxi companies. However, companies like Uber have their fair share of scandals involving multiple reports of sexual assaults, mishandling medical records, and data breaches.

In an article by the New York Times, there were reports of wiretapping Uber’s employees. While the initial accuser claimed the most illegal of these accusations were false, the damage was done. The employees’ reputation was irreparably damaged, but the company regained trust. How?

Brand management was essential to keeping the public’s favor. Professional ORM can explain the reasons for the data collection and ease the tensions between drivers and riders. 

6. Wells Fargo

Everyone wants their money kept safe, so trust the banks to do it. What happens when the bank has a quota and can’t meet it? Wells Fargo was discovered to create millions of fraudulent accounts to meet its quotas. 

Additionally, customers reported being charged for insurance they didn’t ask for and being slammed with late fees that were the bank’s fault, not the client’s. This resulted from rising quotas despite evidence that the goals were unattainable through ethical means.

Since then, the bank has somewhat recovered, but following up with brand management services will keep your business’s reputation safe and secure. Once trust is lost, and clients feel taken advantage of, you’ll need BRANDefenders to start rebuilding a solid foundation.

7. Microsoft

Like EA is frowned upon for heavy microtransactions in games, Microsoft has faced similar scrutiny. The Windows OS is known to be buggy, crash or slow down, and update (often unprompted) for hours. Even with all these issues present in tech, the price tag is still expensive.

There are limited options for those who don’t have the ability or time to build their computers from the ground up, but Microsoft makes those options less favorable. Additionally, the company is looking to expand and acquire other studios that struggle with accusations of sexual harassment in the workplace.

With situations that threaten the brand’s integrity, BRANDefenders stands to keep your company afloat by managing the online press.

8. Fox Entertainment Group

The right-wing media is certain to face scrutiny online, but Fox News is the most common mainstream offender. The parent company of Fox News is constantly facing accusations of fake news and spreading misinformation. It goes beyond housing unpopular opinions into defending assumptions and false information.

The problem people have with Fox News is promoting a community that can quickly slide into exclusive and discriminatory territory. Viewers tend to criticize the Fox Entertainment Group for allowing such practices to go on, but supportive brand management can take even the worst pressure off an organization.

9. Facebook

Rebranding the parent company to Meta to avoid scandals ultimately backfired when reports continued to come in. The issue wasn’t simply that Facebook had harmful content; the company was aware of this and took no steps to rectify or address the issue with the public.

Instead, the company focuses on its aspiring virtual reality world. This angers users who are still impacted by the fake news and data breaches that affected their accounts. While Facebook retains millions of users, some are unhappy with how the social media giant handles their information.

However, companies like Facebook understand the importance of brand management, so they haven’t gone anywhere. Rebranding was one step, but BRANDefenders can bury the old, outdated, and negative content shared about your company so that it won’t affect public opinion.

10. Apple

After several scandals, it’s easy to see why Apple made the list. Despite the company’s love and praise from loyal customers, plenty of people are strongly against the big tech company. Aside from tracking users even after consent is denied, the company has faced scrutiny over business practices and wastefulness in light of its green initiative.

AirTags have already been used to stalk pedestrians and their vehicles. While there are claims that the AirTags only operate within a certain range and alert the user when it is on them, the alert doesn’t always appear right away. This leaves some concerned that a stranger will have followed them home without their knowledge and potentially marked them as a target.

With serious allegations and misuse of products, BRANDefenders can help alleviate the burden of bad press online by reminding customers of the perks of such products. Quality ORM ensures that those negative reviews and news stories have little to no impact on your brand. 

What You Can Do To Avoid Online Hate

It’s impossible to avoid every bad review, but there are steps you can take to ensure it won’t affect the integrity of your brand. 

Don’t let poor ORM be why your company falls behind in the search rankings when you’re one click away from help. Contact BRANDefenders to get a personalized plan of action for your company. Brand management is our specialty, and we’ll work with you to protect your company’s image. 

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