When marketing goes rogue


Earlier today I was sent this fantastic review of a legal firm’s new branding and marketing that is about as off-message as you could possibly get. While you’re perusing photos of hot rod races, yachting and what looks like a man who has been knocked unconscious, remind yourself that this is the website for a legal firm you’re looking at. And that’s not even mentioning the deep philosophising (how does a butterfly feel when it’s in love?)


We don’t expect all advertising, marketing and branding to perfectly replicate what a business does, there has to be some creativity after all, but surely there needs to be at least some connection between the two? This got me thinking, what are some other examples of when brands have just got it wrong:


Firstly, the perfect example of why footballers should stick to football. As a colleague highlighted, imagine how bad Wayne Rooney’s outtakes must be.




Thinking of booking a holiday? Try Thorne Travel, your first point of call for pumping house music, acrobats and a dance troupe.





I personally wasn’t aware of this one but the outrage it has caused in the BlueSky office has meant it has to be included. Nationwide employees watching this probably wondered why their days are spent sat in an office and dealing with angry customers rather than the wishy-washy nonsense portrayed here. Or, as Kerry Gill said, “it’s the misuse of confidential company information that makes me angry.”





At some level, branding, advertising and marketing needs to be aligned with what the company is actually doing. Promoting such an irrelevant message can potentially have serious consequences that affect the strength of the company brand. Statistics suggest that 7/10 consumers are closing accounts and ‘unfriending’ companies as a result of poorly targeted campaigns and that’s just on social media. Irrelevant messaging can also affect the employer brand. While we’re not expecting Manchester United to struggle to sign and retain players because of a dodgy wine advert, for professional businesses, poorly aligned campaigns can have a severely negative effect and leave staff feeling disenfranchised with their employer if their experiences don’t match the image that’s been promoted to the wider world.


We’re not sure how effective a hiring tool the legal firm’s campaign will turn out be, new recruits may expect to be whisked off on a yacht for a spot of accordion playing, meaning their first day (which we assume will be office-based?) may come as somewhat of a surprise. I’m all for creative campaigns and it can be incredibly effective to delve behind the scenes and get a more personal feel for an employer, but this one needs to be reined in slightly.



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