When Marketing Runs Amok…

I’ve recently seen three examples recently of marketing that were probably very well-intentioned and yet completely defeated the purpose. Food for thought as you think about business names and marketing slogans and taglines…


First, a banner sign across the front of a local Turkish carpet store — I’ll do my best to recreate the visual effect here:

our prices are lower than a
GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE
name of store here

The letters on the top and bottom lines were tiny. The GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE phrase was in very large type. As a result, passing traffic got one — and only one – clear message from the banner: these guys were toast, finito, history, circling the drain. In a nutshell…GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. Clearly not the message you want to convey. They were just too clever for their own good.

Our next example: a local information-finding service. Say you’re driving around town and need directions to that great little sports bar in Frisco. You call these guys and they give you the info you need.

Their original name: “Go Online Data”, with the website address “askGOD.com”. Their marketing played off the heavenly theme, with vehicle “wraps” with images of beautiful blue skies and drifting white clouds. They called their customer service reps “angels” and loaded up their website with lots of coy references to heaven, hell, and angels.

Just one catch: the company says enough customers hated the name that they recently changed it to Info Angels.

And even worse – I’m sure many people had the same reaction I did. I had seen their logo’d vehicles around Dallas, but I figured it was a religious pitch of some kind. The actual marketing message didn’t register at all.

Our last (and worst) example:

I recently saw a store that provides shipping services. The name: Going Postal.

I’m sure this seemed extremely clever. But associating your business with a phrase that commonly evokes poor customer service (at best) and mass murder (at worst) is rarely a good idea.

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