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negative marketing

Grumpy Cat. Oscar the Grouch. The Grinch. These are all negative characters, but we love them anyway. So can negativity actually be a positive thing? We think so! Done right, a negative approach can actually be an effective marketing tool.

All the Feels

negative marketing
Inciting ANY emotion is good for marketing

To put it simply, positive messages appeal to a person’s hopes and aspirations. Negative messages address fears and anxieties. Your goal with any marketing, video included, is to make an emotional connection. That can be any kind of emotional connection. If what you’re doing incites emotion, you have audience attention. Regardless of whether you’re making someone happy, sad or angry.

When to Call in Negative Nelly

You’ve probably seen the Nike ad featuring Colin Kapernick. Many felt the corporation was taking a huge risk with this ad, potentially hurting sales. I think it’s fair to say that some would call this ad a negative approach. At the very least, it was controversial. If you’re going to make such a bold move, you have to be prepared for the consequences. Initially, there was a backlash, but ultimately Nike scored a win by banking on their customers.

A negative approach can be provocative. Consider headlines that make you want to keep reading: “Why You Can’t get a Promotion”, “Vegetables that Will Make You Sick”, “The 10 Worst Traffic Cities”. All compelling, right? And all are negative.

Negativity can be tied to exclusivity. Make a special offer, but only for a short time. Give a break to loyal customers. Let it be known that only a limited amount of a product is available. These exclusive offers may offend those who miss out, but it also rewards those who take advantage. Plus, this tack can compel people who were excluded to commit to your company to avoid future disappointment.

United by Negativity

People can bond over a negative shared experience. Misery loves company, right? Use negativity to create a unifying moment, then move on to the positive. For example, ask the audience a question: Don’t you hate it when a store doesn’t have the one item you really need? Now you have people thinking about how angry this situation makes them. Time to swoop in with a solution: With Hank’s Overstocked Emporium, you’ll never waste another trip to the store!

Something that people can really bond over is a common enemy. Choose a villain that everyone can relate to and suddenly we’re all in this together. Consider the lazy co-worker, a useless significant other or an evil boss. We can all relate to these archetypes and they’re often used in marketing.

Tomato, Tom-ah-to

negative marketing
Full or empty, it’s all about perception

Generally, the job of a spin doctor is to put a positive spin on the negative. The inverse can also be done. Consider the language below. Each pair is saying essentially the same thing, but with either a positive or negative connotation. Choose your words wisely to convey the tone you’re after.

  • concerned party vs. nosy neighbour
  • glass half full vs. glass half empty
  • arrogant vs. confident
  • traditional vs. old-fashioned
  • inexpensive vs. cheap
  • old vs. vintage

On a Positive Note

Always consider how your negativity will play with your audience. If negativity, in whatever form, doesn’t help you achieve your objective, leave it alone and go another route. Even if your video has a negative approach, we’re positive we can help you make it a success. Call Key West Video today for a free quote.

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