(CNBC) — Whether it was an honest mistake or a calculated attempt to build buzz about their brand, retailers over the years have certainly had their fair share of blunders.
Despite the multiple levels of approval required at some of these culprits—many of which are large, publicly traded companies—items that shoppers perceived as sexist, racist or otherwise distasteful still managed to find their way through the pipeline and onto shelves.
The mistakes are not easily forgotten. Thanks to the widespread adoption of social media, experts said missteps that used to put a temporary tarnish on a retailer's reputation can now have long-lasting effects that hurt its brand equity for years to come.
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"That expression that [there's] no bad publicity, it's not true," said Jennifer Vickery, president and CEO of National Strategies Public Relations. "It takes millions of dollars and a lot of time to fix those things."