In the advertising world, companies are known to promote only the positive features of whatever they’re selling. They focus on the good and broadcast the benefits of their offers–and that’s fair. They are after all, trying to entice people to buy.
And while this practice is certainly the norm, some brands are proving that complete and brutal honesty can actually work in generating positive buzz. Below are two great campaigns that prove honesty really is the best–not to mention the most entertaining–policy.
Check them out and see if you can apply more honesty in your own online advertising campaigns.
1. Bodyform Responds :: The Truth
In 2012, sanitary napkin company Bodyform got a satirical rant on its Facebook page. A guy named Richard Neil accused the company of lying to him in their ads. He said:
Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger
About a week later, Bodyform responded to Richard by posting a hilarious video that featured the company’s fictional CEO, Caroline Williams. In it, Williams apologized and came clean about what’s it really like for a woman to be on her monthly period.
“I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but there’s no such thing as a happy period,” Williams continued.
The hilarious ad gained a ton of press coverage and millions of views, dramatically increasing Bodyform’s social engagement and exposure.
2. Dumb Ways to Die
We’ve covered Metro’s Dumb Ways to Die campaign quite a bit on the AdMedia blog, and for good reason: It’s adorable, funny, and to some extent, true.
Metro promoted train safety by being completely honest about what could happen if people don’t exercise caution when they’re around trains: they could die in the dumbest way possible.
The results of the campaign were overwhelming. Metro gained worldwide attention, media coverage, and tons of buzz.