Controversy – Packing A Powerful Marketing Punch
Have you ever had the temptation to stir the pot? I’m sure you’ve had it on a personal level and possibly a professional level too. It’s the cheeky child in us all. It’s almost like that big shiny red button that you should not press… well my advice, within reason of course, is press it.
Controversy is a powerful marketing tool
Look at how certain corporations use it such as Ryanair. I have to start by differentiating scandal and controversy – I’m talking about controversy as in using imagery and messages that draw attention for dubious or humorous reasons – not illegal behaviour that draws massive media attention for all the wrong reasons.
A prime example being the recent GAA Hunky Dorys advert – it’s amazing how a simple advert got so much value-add public relations.
Dividing opinion is great
Yes it can cause hullabaloo and while 50% of the audience may despise your techniques, 50% may indeed love it. Don’t be nervous of stirring the pot if you feel you’re not going to cause major offence. Admittedly I had a close encounter back in my greenhorn days– a bold move that I somehow miraculously emerged unscathed. It was a national school competition for growing fruit and vegetables.
Knowing that this particular prize ceremony was hardly ‘hard news’ I decided that this press release subject line would have to pack a punch to grab the attention of the journos – I went with ‘Children Rewarded for Seedy Behaviour’. It worked, got lots of coverage and I’m still alive.
Where’s the line?
I think that really depends on your target public and how edgy you can be. For example, United Colours of Benetton have been slammed in the past – I personally think that the image above is smart and clever. Do you think it goes too far?
Do you ever push that red button? Give me some examples of how you took a risk that did/didn’t pay off in the mission to grab attention.
“Image from www.news.softpedia.com”