The holidays are upon us which means we’re being inundated with advertising, advertising, advertising. I receive at least 50 promotional emails per day. Some retailers are even sending two or three emails in the same day. But I’ll save a blog post about excessive holiday marketing for another day.
What I’ve been blown away by this season is how controversial some of the marketing campaigns have been.
Example? I recently received an email that had a subject line begin with “Holy Sh!$, x% OFF …” While this type of subject line may not offend all your customers, it certainly may offend some. I’d be very curious to know what their unsubscribe rate was on that email promotion.
Next up, the infamous Kmart Jingle Bells commercial. When I heard another “catchy” ad from Kmart was making the rounds, I couldn’t wait to see it. The “Shipped My Pants” campaign was clever. I was not prepared for what I was about to see for their 2013 Holiday Campaign.
As a marketer, my first impression is that it’s a unique take on a holiday song that is certain to get attention. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, I knew was talking about the ad. Some loved it. Some hated it. No one I spoke to decided to shop at Kmart as a result.
As a consumer, I had a different reaction. I’m all for pushing limits – but I think the ad crossed the line.
Which led me to wonder – in this day and age when retailers can sometimes struggle to stand out in a very large crowd – do they need to be controversial to be effective?
It’s a fine line that has to be walked and you have to explicitly understand your consumers and target audience to determine if you can push those boundaries. Again, what may be very appealing to one demographic may be highly offensive to another.
What’s your take? Do you think marketing has to be controversial to be effective? Or can it actually have the opposite affect?