It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…How to Avoid This and Other Similar Phrases When Things Go Wrong.

A recent marketing campaign in the credit union industry created a firestorm of negative publicity for the credit union and likely will cost more money to fix than the promotion would have garnered in revenue.

The concept was to show members that the credit union was “open-minded” to member loans that are earmarked for “very personal” body enhancements. The central graphic promoting the campaign featured a buxom blonde’s chest with a promising offer.

Hindsight is clear after an incident like this but following some simple creative rules might have led to a different result:

Understand your product benefits
The product benefits are why people buy… not the features. They buy a drill to make holes.  When promoting intimate and/or personal products, improvement in self-esteem is usually the benefit and subtlety is important.

Know the consumer
Those receiving the direct mail promotional piece were offended by the focus of the promotional piece and the outward sexual innuendo. Just a few short years ago “girlie” magazines were sent in plain brown wrappers to avoid an embarrassment by the recipient. Demographics play a key role in determining acceptability of this type of imagery in any conversation.

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