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Risky Business - Marketing with Courage

June 8, 2012

While we’re on the subject of taking risks with your brand, let’s dive a little bit deeper into why you would take a great marketing risk. Why would you put it all on the line? What steps would you have to take to ensure that the risk is well calculated? Some of the greatest marketing campaigns ever implemented were huge risks for companies, and yet when they pay off they pay off huge! Take it from a Scottsdale marketing firm that has been in this business for many years, sometimes it’s imperative that you take the leap.


Marketing Risk Success Stories


• Domino’s Pizza – Not many companies have the courage to point out all of their flaws to the general public. If they’re making bad food, poor quality clothes, or dire financial decision the last thing that they are going to do is let the public know about their mistakes. In marketing, you always want to shed your brand in a positive light, maintaining a positive message through all of the hard times. That’s what most companies do, and then there’s Dominos Pizza.


In 2009, a viral video created by a Domino’s Pizza employee portrayed the company in a horrible light. While their pizza always left a bit to be desired in my personal opinion, this Youtube video quickly tarnished the brand in a bad way. However, instead of turning away from the user-generated content, Russel Weiner, Chief Marketing Officer at Domino’s Pizza, decided to embrace the power behind the video. Weiner developed an entire marketing campaign around what people thought of their pizza, no matter how horrible the videos might portray the brand.


“We had to be open, honest and transparent,” states Weiner. “People said our pizza wasn’t good enough, so we changed everything about it.”


Today you’ve no doubt seen the new Domino’s Pizza marketing campaign on TV, where they literally point out all of their flaws and make commitment to the audience to improve everything. And they have! This marketing campaign takes the power of social media in a whole new direction. The amazing risk that Weiner took with the Domino’s Pizza brand, portraying it in a ‘bad’ light but promising to improve, could have tanked the entire company. Instead, in the first quarter of the new campaign the company’s profits soared by 14.3%.


Since the 2009 incident, the Domino’s Pizza brand equity has grown dramatically. I personally think the pizza tastes a thousand times better. The audience trusts the brand because of their complete transparency, and they aren’t afraid to voice their positive, or negative, opinions in social realms.


• Old Spice – Everyone knows the amazing tale of Old Spice’s marketing campaign that doubled the sales of Old Spice body wash within a short 6-month period. But not many people talk about the amazing risk that was involved in launching this campaign. By targeting the female demographic (the shoppers in the house) with a men’s product, Old Spice took a big risk by asking them to compare their husbands and boyfriends to the Old Spice Guy. On top of the risky commercial advertising, imagine the risk in taking this idea to the users on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, asking them to create their own content and rate yours. The perfectly crafted campaign turned into a huge success for Old Spice, and won James Moorhead Adweek Media’s “Marketer of the Year” award.


Sometimes your best ideas are the scariest, but having the courage to step outside of the box and the faith in your marketing team can make all the difference. Contact us for more information on how to create a viral marketing campaign.