We continue our look at “advertising for dummies” by taking a look at how quickly careless advertising can backfire.
Argentina VS Brazil… Fails To Perform.
Anyone who follows World Cup Football (Soccer) knows that tensions run high and rivalries are deeply ingrained. These rivalries almost always spill over and out of the arena and are often reflected in the various advertising campaigns.
Past rivalries have seen some very “interesting” ad campaigns between rivals. Consider this little exchange between Argentina and Brazil. The top ad was Argentina’s opening shot, the bottom was Brazil’s response after Argentina “failed to perform” in such a way as to “stick it to” Brazil.
France Throws A Few Stones At Ukraine, Forget They Live In A Glass House…
For the upcoming Ukraine VS France Football match French fans were creating various posters of their chicken mascot showing dominance over other teams (in France the Rooster is one of France’s national animals… yes we know the irony and humour in France being represented by a chicken). Needless to say the campaign chucked a few stones towards the Ukraine who responded quite quickly with their own little ad.
The left is one of the French ad’s the right was the Ukraine’s response.
We have one word: “Owned”.
Consider The Backfire.
When advertising, one needs to always consider the various angles and possibilities of a backfire.
Consider it like this. When a parent is choosing names for their newborn, they often consider the many nicknames that can go along with it. “Ben” for example will 99% of the time result in such nicknames as: “Bendover, Benjamin Franklin, Bent, Bender, Bendy etc” (no none are very original). Guarding against nasty nicknames is a very common thought process for new parents.
Any instance of communication with the public (advertising, PR etc) must ponder things in much the same way. Angles need to be considered, public perception of events and materials need to be understood and the overall message being communicated must be honed appropriately. What could go wrong? What leverage may it provide your rivals?
History is riddled with ad campaigns that have backfired violently, damaging the brand they are meant to build up. This is only amplified by the wide-spread use of Social Media to share and spread the failure.
A campaign can start with good intentions but spiral quickly out of control if not properly researched and planned. Try as we may however, we cannot always plan for every possible outcome. To illustrate this, let’s return back to the metaphor of naming your child. I knew a young man whose parents named him Michael Hawk. Not so bad right? Until you start calling him Mike…. and then say his full name out loud, Mike Hawk. Go ahead and say that (quietly) to yourself.
Not exactly the name you want called out when stepping out onto the field for the first time or during role-call in a small high school. Let’s just say the rest of his first year was very good for “character development”.
The point we are trying to make is that one can only do their very best to plan for every possible outcome of an advertising / marketing campaign. You can only do your very best but YOU MUST DO your very best. Careless advertising can quickly backfire (as we see in the Football ad’s above). Consider your audience, consider what is appropriate and what is taboo, consider your wording and then polish your message.
Then fire away.
Just don’t use a chicken as your mascot.
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