3 Tips For Creating Controversial Marketing Campaigns Without Destroying Your Brand

By Vaibhav Kakkar

3 Tips For Creating Controversial Marketing Campaigns Without Destroying Your Brand

Is controversy always a good thing for marketing your brand?

It’s that age-old question… is all press good press?

There are supporters on either side of the fence, both armed with examples that suit their purpose.

So which side of the fence are you on?

Let’s reframe the question like this: How much and to what extent is controversy good for marketing, and after what point does it get bad?

The answer is complex, with several things to consider, like:

  1. The level of controversy
  2. The subject of controversy
  3. The connection between the controversy, the conversation and the brand.

This may seem surprising given we are accustomed to seeing high-profile companies running controversial (sometimes highly controversial!) campaigns, and hijacking conversations on social media to rake in the profits that come from increased visibility.

But a study by academics from Wharton Business School found that while “controversy increases the likelihood of discussion at low levels”, beyond a moderate level of controversy, it “actually decreases the likelihood of discussion”.

So what are you meant to do if you want to add the right amount of controversy to your marketing campaign without going too far?

This blog post will explore how to create campaigns that provoke conversations and push the boundaries of social perception without negatively impacting your brand.


Let’s go!

Tip 1: Choose the right controversy

Just as there are different degrees of controversy, there are different types of controversial campaigns that you can undertake:

  1. Shock campaigns
  2. Taboo campaigns
  3. Debatable campaigns

Shock and Taboo campaigns are the ones that provoke widespread commentary on a contentious topic; for example, an ad that trots out the idea that all gamblers are liars or a pro-atheism poster that shows two priests kissing.

Whereas a Debatable campaign is one that has valid and rational points in both its pros and the cons, and is supported by data.

It is highly recommended to opt for a campaign that is Debatable.

That way, you can still stir up a debate, but let people decide where they stand on it. Debatable campaigns don’t solely rely on administering emotional shock or activating trigger points to generate a response, and rarely cause damage to your brand.

With a Debatable campaign, there is a minimal chance of anyone getting offended or hurt, yet everybody participating in the debate becomes aware of your brand. And this additional awareness can be leveraged by you to boost business.

A study conducted by the apartment location start-up Abodo called Tolerance In America’ analyzed 12 million tweets for profane language, then ranked US states on the basis of tolerance.

The headline may be melodramatic, but this type of content is conducive to debate amongst people, as bigotry and intolerance are hot-button topics. Abodo was not adversely affected by putting up this blog post and the campaign was a huge success with more than 620 placements (240 DoFollow links and 280 co-citation links) and Go to the full article.

Source:: Juff Bullas Blog