Recently there has been a lot of debatable advertising from quite large and well known trademarks. This though may not be so surprising as in the world of marketers dreaming of getting something to go viral, perhaps making a 'dubious' ad is the newest way to get people speaking about the band? From the likes of Coke-Cola, Paddy Power, Luton Airport, KFC, and many more we are seeing a large increase of possibly accidental marketing as it certainly is getting people talking.
Looking at the most current, Coke-Cola released a billboard advert in the USA with the slogan “You’re on.” followed by - Diet Coke. This has caused a lot of hubbub on social media as it has been accused that there is an obvious reference to drug use. This follows up from their controversial marketing campaign for “Share a Coke with” which was branded homophobic. Though Coke has defended themselves saying:
“The Diet Coke logo is the centrepiece of the ad campaign. Diet Coke in no way endorses or supports the use of any illegal substance.”
Profits are down 15% because of this fiasco which in the schemes of Coke’s profit is quite substantial.
Also Paddy Power created an advert where they decided to make their focus about the Oscars and a defendant of an ongoing murder trial...sorry what? Yes, Paddy Power (If you haven’t seen or heard about this yet) made ads using Paralympian ‘Oscar Pistorius’ face edited over the well know Academy Award with a slogan consisting of “Money back if he walks”. Receiving 5,200 complaints the CEO of the company decided to pull the ad but not before a lot of screen caps and ripples on the internet were made. Here is the advert in question...
KFC have also been in the centre of debate over their first Christmas video advertisement. It received 30 complaints which is quite a lot less than Paddy Power but still was enough to cause a stir. It was branded as ‘blasphemous’. The advert said that Christmas Carols were “stupid songs” though regulators decided there wasn’t a need to remove it, you can judge for yourself.
In a campaign against P&G as well as other brands Green Peace created a video slamming their actions for their association with the current Palm Oil deforestation that is destroying they climate, habitats and ecosystems. This type of tactic isn’t new to the charity organisation and can prove to be very successful for them as the political stigma given to P&G can be so damning that it can devastate their image and profits. It mocks the PG Tips recent advert called “Thank you Mum” and how the effected wildlife may lose their mothers. This one is quite hard hitting so not for the faint hearted.
Luton Airport also joined the brigade of 'controversial marketing' when they decided to tweet this to its followers.
This picture shows a plane crash were a little boy died with the sentence “Because we are such a super airport… this is what we prevent you from when it snows… Weeeee” it was later removed but it got people talking about Luton Airport which compared to Heathrow and Gatwick is not as well known or used. Though the affiliation with the tweet is bad the brand awareness increases exceptionally.
So with all these examples it makes one question the famous phrase “There is no such thing as bad PR” well is there? Regardless of how controversial or unethical these adverts certainly are they got a lot of people talking about the brands or products. Some had very bad effects to their business but some have seen a gain in followers, users and internet conversation. As previously mentioned with viral being the new cheaper way to market are brands deliberately doing these things to get people to talk and share their content? Or if not what were they thinking? So were some of these deliberate or just a serious of unfortunate events?