Is Controversy A Good Marketing Strategy?

How often have you been listening to or watching an advertisement and said to yourself, “I am so tired of hearing that?” Or perhaps you react the same way to a particular ad spokesperson and think, “I can’t stand that person. He/She is so annoying.” Here is the important thing Duffy Marketing Services wants you to remember: Despite your slight annoyance, if the ad was done right, chances are good you are very aware of the company and brand name being advertised. And chances are you will give that company a chance to earn your business when you are in the market.

Everybody Knows Your Name

At the root of things, that’s why there is always a place for controversy as a marketing strategy. Think about a famous example from years gone by. Howard Cosell was a famous sports announcer for years. Audience surveys showed about half the people liked him and half couldn’t stand him. BUT. EVERYONE. KNEW. WHO. HE. WAS. For that reason, he had a long and lucrative career.

Controversy = Name Recognition

The same is true in the advertising world. To a large degree, it doesn’t matter if someone hates or loves your advertising, as long as they know your name. This is even more true today because the average consumer is bombarded (desktop, mobile, social media, podcast, articles, videos, billboards, etc.) with so many marketing messages, a little business controversy can help your marketing strategy stand out from the crowd. Advantages include:

  • Cost effectiveness because many people are talking about your ad campaign. It’s a way of creating free word-of-mouth publicity.
  • Social media engagement becomes a form of free publicity. A social media buzz has a long-lasting impact. When a campaign goes viral, it triggers a domino effect.
  • Brand awareness is often a byproduct of business controversy. This is especially helpful if you are an unknown brand or new to the market.

Know How Far You Can Go

The key thing is to know your target audience. Let’s say you want your heating and cooling products and services targeting middle aged men. An advertisement that uses a statement that could be interpreted multiple ways generating humor is likely a good strategy. 

Who cares if a few people are a little offended? Just listen to this carefully: poking a little fun is not the same as being mean-spirited. Being mean can alienate everyone.

Navigating a Minefield

That’s what it can be like when it comes to many issue-oriented marketing strategies. Duffy Marketing doesn’t have to tell you political passions are at an all-time high when it comes to social issues. It doesn’t mean issue-oriented campaigns aren’t an effective marketing strategy, but just go in knowing the risks are high. This is doubly true for small businesses. If a social issue campaign backfires for a company like Nike, they have the resources to weather the storm. A small business, on the other hand, can be ruined by one poorly thought-out ad campaign.

Know When to Hold ‘em & Know When to Fold ‘em

Those song lyrics describe perfectly how Duffy Marketing will help you decide when controversy is a marketing strategy worth pursuing. And when the risks are just too great to justify the potential advantages. To learn more about the marketing services we offer be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.