Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fear Factor?

Fear has long been a successful marketing tactic. Example: If you want consumers to buy sunscreen, show them a picture of a leathery sun worshipper at 65.

However, a new campaign from Volkswagen takes shock-value to another level. The TV ads show a family riding in their Jetta carrying on as usual when – WHAM! – they’re t-boned in a horrific-looking crash.

The ads are extremely effective in their mission to jar viewers and get attention quickly. (And in today’s overcrowded marketing environment, that’s a feat in and of itself.)

But my concern is the timing.

We live in a world where movies about 9/11 are on the marquee, soldiers are dying abroad, and pedophiles live right next door. If I want to be afraid, I’ll pick up a newspaper.

Volkswagen should know better. Consumers are tired of feeling anxious - and skyrocketing sales of “new luxury” goods is proof that we’re all trying to drown out the fear by spoiling ourselves a little. (This is why I’ll buy a $7 sandwich from Panera Bread everyday for lunch, but protest bitterly when gas hits $3 per gallon.)

Only time will tell if Volkswagen’s fear campaign sells cars. If it does, well, that just might be the most shocking thing of all.


Blogger spinster girl said...

Sure they use fear to grab the viewer's attention, but if the number of Jettas on the road are any indication it appears to be working. It's not a campaign of fear; it's a campaign of safety and it's selling.

9:29 AM


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