People hate marketing because too often it's pushy and unconcerned with consumer wants and needs. Instead of giving you the information you need to make a purchase decision, bad marketers bombard you with useless information and emotions so that you will hopefully be enticed into buying something just because they want to sell it to anyone willing to pay the price.
This approach is stupid for many reasons but mostly because it is thoroughly unsustainable. Perhaps this approach to marketing worked when choices and information outlets were limited and constrained. But that is no longer the case. Here are three examples of current marketing efforts that are puzzling at best and seem to contain absolutely no genuine consumer insight.
A Schick (Canada) Quattro Razors For Women PR release asks and answers: "How can Canadian women help boost the economy? By investing in a cute mini.... History suggests that as skirt lengths rise, so does the stock market." Therefore you should do your patriotic duty, buy a mini skirt and, of course, shave more of your legs more often and buy their razors to accomplish this goal.
Fun, silly, irreverent, flirty...? Perhaps. Maybe some woman's service magazine will pick this up, write a cheeky story, a few women will get a laugh and make Schick Quattro their razor of choice or be inspired to rock a mini and claim "it's for the economy!" and pick up a few more blades.
But for those women concerned about the economy or interested in more efficient hair removal, this bit of fluff offers no information to help them determine if purchasing a Schick Quattro will meet their needs. Granted razors are very much a commodity item so this can be seen as a way to create more of an emotional connection with consumers but I'm not buying it. Perhaps because some other ads have left me a bit disappointed by my fellow marketers.
Quiznos is taking the concepts of "sex sells" and "food porn" to a strange new level. In the ad for their new "torpedo" sandwiches, the voice over announcer representing the oven demands that the young man selling the torpedo give his spiel in a sexier voice. Then the oven demands that the young man put the foot-long torpedo in him. Much like the Schick PR this could be seen as irreverent, humorous and congruent with the Quiznos brand identity. However, I doubt consumers are looking for a sandwich touted rather explicitly as representing a phallus. And parents are probably weary of the increasingly inappropriate advertising to which their children are exposed.
And speaking of parents, I seriously doubt there are many out there who will appreciate Dunkin Donuts latest message, promoted on television, that TV is evil and sucks your kids in like zombies caught in a tractor beam and that the way to break the spell is to feed them donuts. The underlying concept here is to remind consumers of the donuts in Dunkin Donuts after focusing heavily on coffee and sandwiches. But given that consumers have been bombarded with the message that childhood obesity is an epidemic crisis, I suspect the ad subtly screams - you are a bad parent!!! I've seen some tweets saying that some find the ad humorous, but my reaction and that of many others was head scratching.
Marketing like this might get attention. Each of these efforts have certainly broken through the clutter as I've seen discussion around them and it's not just my own insidery advertising and marketing interest that's been piqued. But what of those enticed to buy based on these efforts? Clever, humorous marketing in and of itself gives me no signal that any of these items is right for this consumer and if I try and am disappointed you've just built frustration and bad feelings into your brand. Good marketing should connect the right consumers for your brand with what you are selling. Unless the message is that these products are only for consumers with a particular sense of humor, all three of these efforts fail.