I read a great article on popsci.com today. It talked about a recent research study that theorized certain types of anti-drug advertising can actually have the reverse effect of what they intended. By bringing attention to illegal drugs, it can actually make young people wonder if they should try them to see what all the fuss is about. While teens understand there are risks, most view themselves ad immortal and figure that someone else will always be the statistic.
When thinking about this premise, it brought back memories of a past client. They were a large manufacturer of a popular food additive. Their product had slowly come under attack from consumer groups due to it’s alleged unnatural method of production. While the client had research to prove their product was just as natural as the alternatives, preconceived notions can be difficult to change.
The client had come to us asking for us to develop a large scale advertising campaign to tell their side of the story. We performed a large amount of research to determine the true situation and to understand consumer opinions. Of course we had to put our personal feeling aside in order to gather quantifiable data.
Ultimately what we found is, a large percentage of the population knew of the debate but had no opinion for or against the product. Upon further analysis we ultimately recommended that the client not create and run a large advertising campaign about their product and it’s benefits, since it would just bring more attention to the detractors.
Unfortunately for them, the client had already made up their minds and went with another agency who would produce the campaign they desired. This was a tough pill to swallow. If we had, against our better judgment, went ahead with a campaign we would have been in position to make a good profit from the campaign.
What happened with the campaign? Exactly what we had anticipated. There was strong backlash against the ads, culminating in a parody of their TV spot on Saturday Night Live. It is so incredibly important to open ourselves to the truth. Truth about our products, services and ourselves. Only when we realize the reality of our situations can we make the correct decisions in order to influence people effectively.