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Radical Advertising Risks: Trends, Uses, Case Studies

Clearly, all marketers (Clients and agencies alike) want to come up with big, amazing ideas that revolutionize the industry, are beautiful and have a positive ROI.  One way to do that is to embrace the mantra, “GO BIG OR GO HOME” and “no risk, no reward.”
But what happens when it backfires?  Because it doesn’t always go right.
Remember the Reebok’s Dan and Dave campaign leading up to the 1992 Olympic Summer Games?  Dan O’Brien voluntarily passed on the   lower heights in the pole vault, then failed in his first three attempts, resulting in no points for the event, and ultimately, did not qualify for the Olympic team.  Dave won the bronze metal in Barcelona.  The campaign, however, was a flop.

Don’t think that Reebok was alone.  Last year Nike tried to capitalize on the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  A TV campaign ran showing top soccer athletes with the tagline “Write the future.”  Unfortunately, non of the major stars did well—in fact, none of their teams did better than average and in the case of Brazilian Ronaldinho, didn’t even make the cut!

One of my favorites is from McDonald’s.  Here’s a classic case of the ad guys thinking they’re cooler than they are and throwing around terms that they don’t understand (or did they?).  McDonald’s launched a campaign for their Double Cheeseburger with the line “I’d hit it” not realizing that the term is a reference to a willingness to sex.

Need we even bring up the KFC Australia ad that was pulled after racist overtones?  How about Vodafone taking credit for the Egyptian revolution?

Does it mean that we shouldn’t go for it?  Hellz no.


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