Ads of desperation and exploitation

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Yes, this article is going to start off with “in these difficult economic times…” So, in these difficult economic times everyone is feeling the pain. Each industry tends to think theirs is feeling it worse than the other. I think it is safe to say that the restaurant industry is definitely feeling the brunt of the economy as folks start to pull in their superfluous spending budgets in exchange for a more frugal lifestyle.

The knee-jerk reaction is to pull in your own budgets, but you’ll hear one marketing pundit after another state how this is the worst thing to do. (We obviously agree.) So, rather than beat a dead horse, I want to address another trend I have picked up on recently: Advertising charged with desparation and exploitation of negative situations.

It started this past Christmas season when I noticed a local ad that stated, “Dear Santa, please send us more customers.” You can imagine the creative angle. You can also potentially see how this may be considered fun, or playful. I think desperate.

More recently I have taken notice to advertising for a local bank that says, in one form another, “Come back to [us].” Again, the message is clear. We are losing business and we need more.

Those two are examples of ads of desparation. Today I had to experience an ad of exploitation: The Bailout.

I have seen it locally and tried to ignore it, but now Dominoes is leveraging The Bailout (purposely capitalized) as a ploy for a new promotion. This goes beyond the desperate and into the exploitative. Quite frankly it’s a bit on the vile side. It’s bad enough our media has constant coverage and instilling fear into every person, but now we have hokey advertising that thinks they can make light of a tragic situation.

The current political situation is not the first time an advertiser has taken advantage of a negative situation. It’s a natural thought to try to lighten the situation and use it as an advertising angle.

Instead of exploiting an event or coming off blatantly desperate, try focusing on your own positives and true offerings. Now is the time to step up your game. Run a little leaner. Go the extra mile. Give your customers something to talk about. This is less expensive than advertising and less detrimental than exploitative and desperate advertising.

Dig in!

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