Marketing goes on the offensive
As a marketer, I am often offended by initiatives that are useless, not well thought out, possess "whiz bang" but lack substance, or are just strategically unsound. I deplore marketing initiatives that, in effect, undermine the credibility of my chosen profession and put the marketing profession at large one notch above used car sales. (No offense to used car salespeople; you are all doing a great job.) But alas, marketing is my job and my passion, so I think about these types of things a lot.
I am not the only one who has been offended by marketing. In fact, there have been a number of cases over the last year in which marketing campaigns have disturbed, annoyed, and even repulsed people -- people who are outside of the marketing profession. Marketers may have gotten away with a great deal of offensive marketing in the past, but in a world powered by social computing and mass conversation, brands cannot afford to piss people off to the same degree as they once did.
In this article, I will discuss a number of marketing campaigns that offended large groups of people (as well as one or two campaigns that offended me personally). In doing so, I will try to unearth the specific reasons that people were offended, in the hope that you don't make the same mistakes.