Know Your Audience: Advertising Fail

A competitor of one of our clients recently ran this billboard in a nearby market.

Yes, it’s funny (to some). Yes, it probably gets your attention. Many people I’ve shown it to outside the advertising and marketing world found it funny and some even called it “effective”.

But in my holistic view of marketing, this ad was an epic fail.

First, one of the key things I recommend is to understand your target market. And in plastic surgery, that market is females 30-54. While some in this demographic may appreciate the humor, the majority will likely not. Especially if they already have self-image issues that are causing them to consider a surgical solution.

In this era of social media, one has to consider issues like this with an even more watchful eye. After this billboard went live, social media completely lit up with negative comments and outrage. And as a result, the ad was taken down after only a couple of days.

The secondary issue is brand consistency. If you’re going to choose this path for your brand, you can’t dabble. Again, consider your target market. Are your prospects going to seriously consider what can be significant surgery (and expense – remember, these procedures usually aren’t covered by insurance) with a flip, smart-ass practice? I doubt it very much.

Don’t mistake my comments for advocating boring creative – I truly believe that impactful creative is a HUGE factor in a successful campaign. But there’s a line. And that line changes depending on your target market. Amuse them. Grab their attention. Make them remember you. But don’t offend them.


About Sean

Sean Hickey is the C.O.O at PWB. Skilled at defining and building brands that sell, Sean has extensive experience in marketing, advertising, and sales. Throughout his career he has been involved in a variety of aspects of demand generation – whether developing strategies and creative, or deploying systems for metrics. His passion is for truly integrated brands that recognize and leverage the exploding spectrum of available communication channels. Sean also provides strategic and day-to-day guidance in all aspects of PWB operations. When he's not here, you can usually find Sean outdoors – fly fishing for steelhead and trout, skiing, cycling, hunting, sport shooting, grilling, or pursuing some other passion. Read more about these adventures and the gear that fuels them on Sean's blog Sean holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Central Michigan University and is an avid Chippewa Football fan.
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One Response to Know Your Audience: Advertising Fail

  1. I love this blog post! In order to communicate with your target audience, we have to know them. It’s a lot of research, but well worth it. Great post!

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