Why Controversy Can Backfire in Online Marketing

Controversy always seems like such a good idea at the time for an online marketing campaign. However it can seriously backfire. So just why is controversy so bad for an online marketing campaign?

At EBS Marketing we’ve heard that old adage ‘all publicity is good publicity’ a thousand times. However the reality is that it’s a myth and that it can actually be far more negative than you realise.

It can seem so tempting to use controversy in an online marketing campaign; after all the success of these campaigns often depends on things like how much ties they are retweeted and  how many times they are liked on Facebook and controversy is  bound to bring these to your online marketing campaign.

However the truth is that whilst they will bring online attention to you in the short, term, controversial online marketing campaigns have a tendency to linger and damage the reputation of the brand in the long term.

This is because of the nature of Google. You need to have an online marketing campaign rank on Google for it to be truly effective; after all these days people use Google to find you and if you’re not on there then chances are that your campaign won’t get the chance to be effective if it doesn’t rank on page one for your search term because they’ll never see it.

So this would make it seem like a good idea to have a controversial marketing campaign as it is more likely to have a presence on Google meaning that more people will see it.  However the reality is that all people will see is the negative press that your campaign has generated; and these negative links will linger for a long time, damaging your brand in the long term.

Take the McDonald’s Twitter campaign #CheersToSochi for example. It was done to highlight the fast food giant’s sponsoring of the Winter Olympics in the Russian resort town of Sochi. It seemed like a smart move however McDonald’s knew that it would be controversial.

However Russia’s attitude to LGBT rights has meant that people objected to the Winter Olympics being held in Russia. LGBT rights activists high jacked the hashtag and caused an online nightmare. It’s also generated a headache for page one for their search term.

It can always seem like a good idea to use controversy to make an online marketing campaign shine but you know that it’s going to backfire. If you do try to use this online marketing technique remember that you really are playing with fire.

EBS Marketing on How the Pop Star Super Fan is set to kick off A Marketing Revolution

If EBS marketing told you about just how much marketing potential there is in the rabid teenage boy band fan market you’d be surprised. A BBC editorial released on the website today (Wednesday 2nd September) really brought it home to us. The most die hard fans of bands such as One Direction and The Wanted, as well as solo acts such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Katy Perry, are now recruiting hundreds of thousands of fans on Twitter on their own, making not just what their idols have to say, but what they themselves have to say, very important in the online market of 2013.

It’s no secret that celebrities are crucial, in some way or another, to any marketing campaign that intends to use popular culture to reach its audience. However, the onset of Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as the internet in general, has radically changed the way these fans interact with their idols. It used to be that you waited outside your pop star of choice’s dressing room and waited until they came out, counting on luck of the draw to get you noticed.

However, now these fans are going to ever more extraordinary lengths to get noticed; luck has flown out of the window and it turns out that the methods these fans are using, such as creating popular fan sites, and using their Twitter and Facebook accounts to gather hundreds of thousands of followers, are actually new ways of simply getting noticed. Considering that the majority of people like this are teenagers, they are creating their own slick marketing campaigns, with the core marketing principle, getting noticed, at the heart of it all. Guess what, its working!

The article highlighted a ‘Directioner’ (One Direction super fan) who has had a whole lot of success in using online tactics to promote interest, all with the purpose of being noticed by the five piece boy band. 16 year old SJ runs a Twitter account that is dedicated to the band, under the hash tag @STYLATORARMY that has an incredible 850,000 followers and counting. When SJ was asked why she was having such success she said that “I think it’s just because I tweet the content other fans want to see and can relate to.” The girl has mastered a basic marketing principle and she hasn’t even gotten her driving license yet.

This just really highlights how consumers are changing. It used to be that they knew nothing about marketing, and even less about online marketing. However, the younger generation, in a bid to fulfill their teenage fantasies, are coming to embrace marketing as a regular part of their everyday lives. EBS Marketing reckons that we have to change with the times. It’s these mini media moguls we need to be taking our cues from. It’s these teenagers we need to be targeting in a successful marketing campaign. We need to become a fan of the super fans.