Monday, January 25, 2016

Another British brand tries trolling non-customers as a marketing strategy

The Sun
Remember the controversy over Protein World's "Beach Body Ready" ads last year? The ads sparked a firestorm of Twitter protest, inspired vandalism and parody ads, and was eventually banned by the ASA.

The campaign, which Adland's Dabitch described as "trolling as a social media strategy," resulted in huge amounts of earned media and — according to Marketing — £1million in direct sales revenue.

I've never been a fan of the cliché, "there's no such thing as bad publicity," but for brands that are seeking to grow a narrow-but-oppositional target market, it can work.

The Sun

Enter Gourmet Burger Kitchen, a UK chain that decided to dust off an old chestnut for meat vendors: Making fun of vegetarians.

The Sun
The reaction was as big as it was predictable:

The advertiser has since made a tepid apology on Facebook, and has promised to take down "some of" the ads. But a follow up survey, published in The Drum, showed that the campaign was likely to increase sales slightly.

Which makes me wonder, are angry social media protests over campaigns like these just playing into the hands of the most cynical marketers? Do activists risk becoming one more channel for earned media?

I'd love to hear some opinions about what's happening, and what could go differently.

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