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Getting Offensive to Get Noticed

It can be difficult to get your brand noticed in a market that is undoubtedly saturated with simular products and services and all competing for that consumer dollar. The fight for Google rankings and social media followers adds to the need to do something a little bit different to get your company name out there out there to the masses.

Some brands achieve this through big production budgets, celebrity endorsements, clever viral campaigns and massive advertising budgets. However, there are those brands that every now and again burst onto the spot light for a different reason, controversy.

There have been dozens of brands over the years that have gained attention through controversial (and sometimes bordering on offensive) campaigns. In most instances it is obvious that the primary motive behind these particular campaigns is to instigate the shock factor. If you get people talking and better yet, have your campaign banned due to a public outcry, you have just widened the audience awareness for your brand.

The down side is, although more people have your brand in the forefront of their mind, it is not necessarily instilling a positive image or one that they want to be affiliated with. We have seen big brands such as Calvin Klein and Diesel Jeans have their billboards removed due to sexist and ‘demeaning’ images. Even Toyota experienced the shun with their ‘Buggar’ campaign.

The most recent brand to join this list of controversial campaigns may surprise you. Fresh One, a Perth based coffee company,saw their social media platforms go into meltdown when they released their new marketing campaign online. The material released was a mixture of Sex and Drugs with no Rock’n Roll in sight.

With the barrage of complaints received, the Advertising Standards Bureau instructed Fresh One to remove two of the four advertisements released in the campaign.  The advertisement containing a syringe was removed due to contradicting community standards on health and safety. The second advertisement that was deemed inappropriate was one which contained a woman kneeling in front of a man.

Fresh One seemed to dig themselves into a deeper hole (or create more publicity and social engagement?) through their post-campaign strategy of defending their campaign and blaming their complainants of instigating a “focused attack on Fresh One” continuing with the explanation of “There seems to be so many more portals that offer expletive-based commentary and naked sexual imagery well beyond the gregarious nature of Fresh’s One’s page.”  The risk of this response is Fresh One could have potentially further segregated themselves from potential customers. The upside is they are standing behind their brand.

If you are thinking of going down the controversial road to get your brand out there, here are some tips:

* Consult a marketing company and create a proper strategy.

* Be aware of the advertising standards including privacy, copyright and discrimination.

* Do not insult your existing customers and potential customers. Most controversial campaigns work on being exclusive rather than inclusive, so you have to be careful with it’s execution.

* Have an exit strategy in place focusing on Public Relations.

If you think your brand is in need of a new campaign, give us a call today.