In marketing there has been a long-standing debate. Do you run with the campaign that gets noticed? Or choose to go the conservative route, selecting a marketing message that adheres more closely to what those in the corporate world would deem acceptable? So this of course begs the questions, which is better? When is it the right time to break the mold? When is the right time to be conservative? And what do you stand to gain from each direction. In this post we will take a look at these questions, but before we do that let’s consider a few examples.
Traditional Marketing Examples
There are some companies that do not break the mold often. They continue the conservative route. In most cases, these are larger companies with investors. Here are a few examples.
The “I’m Loving It” campaign has been running for years and years. This campaign focuses on positive imagery of people enjoying McDonalds. The only variation between commercials is slightly different social situations.
When you think of Wells Fargo, images of horses and cowboys immediately come to mind. This transposes the consumer into a western-like moment in time. This reinforces two main elements of the Wells Fargo brand, history and American.
Outlandish Marketing Examples
Now that we have considered the basic implications of two excellent yet clearly conservative marketing campaigns it is time to quickly review the latter option, that being the crazy campaigns that grab your attention.
The old spice campaigns of early 2012 prayed on the newfound abilities in viral marketing. For those of you who have not seen the commercials, allow me to describe the concept to the best of my abilities. Imagine a quirky young man speaking directly to the camera in a baritone-like conversational tone. As he describes how amazing he smells and elaborates on the benefits of having your man smell the same he gracefully glides from scene to scene. Backgrounds change, his clothes fall off and then he reemerges in a different form, entire worlds seem to transform and being the smooth great smelling man he is he just goes with the flow. Quirky to say the least.
Making fun of cavemen, talking geckos, Geico has pushed the boundaries with their marketing, developing a brand that lacks a seriousness you would normally expect from a car insurance company. For the purposes of this article we will reference the Geico Gecko, who adamantly explains the merits of car insurance in different scenarios.
Quick Point on Traditional vs. Outlandish
Can we really define traditional vs. outlandish? The reason being, each marketing program is tailored to a different demographic. Because of this, they market to those with various ideologies in different verticals. Due to this, outlandish vs. traditional can only be considered on a market-by-market basis. Something that may be considered traditional in one space may not be considered traditional in the other. I believe this is an important distinction to keep in mind.
Benefits of Traditional
Now that we have briefly reviewed a few examples, let’s consider the benefits of being traditional. First, I think we can all agree that traditional marketing has less chance of alienating any of your demographic. When we consider traditional marketing, when of course as previously mentioned making sure to note the common marketing standards of the space, we generally think of benefits such as catering to everyone, less risk, less push-back, more longevity and more credibility. A strong brand message that is clear and well received often results in this type of fruition.
Benefits of Outlandish
So what do we gain from outlandish marketing? Think GoDaddy Super Bowl commercials, right? Well, it is clear it has the potential to get a greater response. Along with that comes quicker and more electric recognition.
Downfalls of Each
It is clear that the strengths of each marketing practice correlate directly to their failures.
- Less exciting
- Often less attention grabbing
- Dare we say boring?
- Potential to alienate
- Does not appeal to conservative
- Could lack longevity
How to Decide Between the Two for your Company
Deciding between these two types of marketing can be difficult for any company. The course of action is usually decided based on the personalities of those at the top of the food chain. Does the CEO like outlandish marketing? Then that is what your company is going to get. That being said, this decision really relies mainly on your brand goals. Do you want to be seen as a youthful, fun and kooky brand? Or would you rather be seen as a strong, reliable and careful brand. In most cases your strategy will be a direct reflection of the demographic you are catering to. At the end of the day, Ignite Visibility recommends going with your gut. If something feels a little too over the top and you are in a market where you need credibility, it’s probably a good choice to take a step back and go the more conservative route. That being said, here is a simple evaluation process you can use.
- Does the campaign align with your goals?
- Will the campaign alienate a substantial portion of your demographic?
- Does the campaign hurt your credibility in a way that it will cause you to lose business?
- Is the campaign exciting enough that you will get the return you are looking for?
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