Risky business II: Where do YOU draw the line?

Share this article:
In my blog post yesterday, I described the sorts of questions tackled during a Caples Creative Jam session on risks and ethics. But I didn't get to any of the juicy stuff!

Our group ended up talking a lot about particular campaigns that we thought crossed some sort of line, either of ethics or just plain good taste. The funny thing was the variety of examples that our roundtable participants came up with. No one seemed to have quite the same idea of what was offensive, what was a worthwhile risk and what was just plain boring.

Some repeat mentions went to:

- A Planters commercial from last year, which showed an unattractive woman receiving catcalls after dabbing herself with cashews. The participant who brought this ad up said it just "rubbed him the wrong way" with its portrayal of women.

- A Snickers ad during the SuperBowl that showed two guys kissing and then getting grossed out. Homophobia gets used "jokingly" in a lot of entertainment and ads these days. The table agreed it wasn't funny.

- Credit card companies and other heavy direct mailers who send completely mis-targeted things (like luxury vacation offers aimed at lil' ol' me). Sure its ethical, but it offends the sensibilities of consumers who expect to be known, and it's a stupid risk to take when we know the credit card companies have a ton of information on us that just isn't being used properly.

Different campaigns push different buttons based on the target audience, their values and their life experiences. Sometimes offending a piece of your audience is worth it, if it gets people talking. Other times, a single, offensive campaign it can irreparably damage a brand.

What are some campaigns that you think crossed the line?
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Direct Line Blog

Sign up to our newsletters

Latest Jobs:


Company of the week

Data Services, Inc. meets the needs of today's data-driven marketer by providing front-end database management and data analytics platforms alongside our expertise in global contact data quality, database building and ongoing maintenance that comes with our 45+ years in business.


Find out more here »

More in Direct Line Blog

Creative Marketing Is Good; Useful, Relevant Messages Are Better

Creative Marketing Is Good; Useful, Relevant Messages Are ...

The next wave of the digital evolution is pushing marketers toward hyper-relevance; but not everyone is catching on.

What (Truly) Matters to Millennials

What (Truly) Matters to Millennials

A recent study reveals the things that millennials really care about—and what moves them to make a purchase.

The Long, Hard Road to Marketing Sophistication

The Long, Hard Road to Marketing Sophistication

If there are times when you feel like you're way behind on the customer journey, well, you probably are. But so is nearly everyone else.