Is Your Marketing Sending the Wrong Message?

I was recently watching a commercial on TV. I can’t tell you what the product was. (It was probably that horrible puppy, monkey, baby commercial.) I just remember turning to my husband and saying, “Ew! What was that about?” It was assuredly was not the reaction the marketing team was after.

We work hard to positively promote our business; but sometimes our marketing is unknowingly sending the wrong message. Just so we can all feel better about ourselves, I did some research on a few companies whose carefully crafted message didn’t go over so well.


Here’s what we can learn and apply to our own marketing:


  • Remember Coke vs New Coke? – The Coke-drinking customer was perfectly happy with the cola drink just as it was. It was one of the top sellers in its market. For some reason, though, Coke decided that they needed to create New Coke. The backlash was immediate. What did they learn? Listen to your market. There’s no reason to create something new when it’s already what your target market is happy with.


  • What About a Diet Candy? – This product goes way back to the ’70s. A popular diet candy was on the market called Ayds. Unfortunately, a few years later, the news started reporting on the AIDS epidemic in this country. Ayds could have ignored the similarity in product names. They decided, though, to change the name and market it under another brand. What did they learn? Stay alert and aware of what’s happening in the world around them. Make changes to your message, if necessary.


  • The Creep Factor – The Burger King “king” is still around. Remember the commercial when he’d go into people’s bedrooms or outside their window? Apparently, I’m not the only one who found these commercial really creepy. I’m sure Burger King was trying to be funny (or something) but it didn’t translate too well to their market. What did they learn? Understand your audience. What’s humor in your mind could be taken the wrong way by many other people.


  • Touch the Rainbow – The latest marketing by Skittles was their Skittles Pox commercial. Kind of cute, right? Unfortunately, their earlier commercials were about a man who turned everything he touched into Skittles, including people. The audience didn’t find this marketing funny at all. Again…the ew factor. It was fine when he turned his stapler or telephone into Skittles. Touching a man on the bus or his grandson…not so much. What did they learn? Unless you’re selling grave plots or life insurance, death doesn’t translate well in marketing.


No one wants their marketing to send the wrong message. Large corporations like the ones mentioned above spend a lot of money to promote their products and services. We can learn from their mistakes and create positive marketing messages or our target markets.


Originally posted by Second Self Virtual Assistance at

Is Your Marketing Sending the Wrong Message?
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