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Lvl 26: Can You Be TOO Controversial & Offensive in Your Marketing?

By Nate Zerambo

Last week we took a look at what controversial marketing is and why you should use it in the first place. Continuing our discussion, in part 2, we’re gonna see if it’s possible to go overboard in your approach of “pissin’ ‘em off”... It CAN backfire Starbucks “anti- Christmas" red cups Pepsi’s Kenndall Jenner ad Absolut advocating for Mexican invasion of US 2011 "Why should women read The Economist? They shouldn't. Accomplished, influential people should read us. People like you." (13% of readers were women) GoDaddy’s Superbowl ad “puppy sold on website”. Didn’t even air. PETA got involved on Wal-Mart’s (in Texas) Coca-Cola Twin Towers 9-11 display White Skittles "Only one rainbow matters this weekend... Pride's." Coca-Cola’s “New Coke” in 1985 McDonald’s Arch Deluxe “burger with grown up taste” showed kids hating it CEO of Lifelock Todd Davis posted his Social Security number. His identity was stolen 13 times. Sony’s “White is Coming” Budweiser’s #UpForWhatever “Perfect Beer for removing “NO” from your vocabulary for the night Limit the backlash Keep your target audience in mind. You shouldn’t upset or piss off your target. Think about the implications of what you’re saying in the message of your ad or marketing Don’t make your brand the solution for a big issue (or set of issues) Tragedy is NOT an opportunity for sales; don’t make it one Be honest Recovery from backlash Double Down Do NOT apologize. Avoid the “s” word” take as criticism for the industry, not the business itself “not here to please everybody” euphemism for “if you don’t like it, fuck off” Mazda SUV 2012 commercial, where Dr. Seuss’ the Lorax sells a car NO celebrity or brand that ever apologized for something they did received a positive repsonse to said apology Exceptions (sort of): If everyone agrees or disagrees with you, you’re probably wrong, so at that point humbly accept the failure, pull it, and move on. Again, don’t apologize. If the message was by and large interpreted wrong, you can explain but don’t harp on it. You want to cause controversy, a bit of drama or a plot twist on stage, not get the entire crowd to boo you off stage.. Never bring it up again. But Backfiring can be Good What’s the point of controversial marketing? To raise awareness The larger the backfire, the larger the impact, the bigger awareness is raised seems counter-intuitive the downside of a backlash is it may lead to protests and a downward trend in sales but even the biggest fails of controversial marketing still builds brand awareness your brand can become ”inafmous”, but at least there’s still fame involved in that. you’re not a nobody any more and are on top of people’s minds it’s certainly best to limit the amount of backlash you get but don’t feel bad about it. Honey badger don’t care. Take it as a lesson and move on to make a better one next time. the next marketing campaign or ad you make after a huge backlash will gain better attention because now people want to see what you’ve done since the last fiasco. You can redeem yourself and your brand You can learn from failures. Failure is opportunity to learn and evolve. We also enter Lazy Island’s Gr8 Game Room for some gaming news, where we talk about the release of Resident Evil 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, and the closing of the Wii Shop Timeline of Kingdom Hearts

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