Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Age of Poor Persuasion

This is the first part of an essay that will explore poorly executed, or otherwise myopic, marketing campaigns and branding strategies that occur in our daily lives.

Above, we see the new Strawberry Bloom Donut from Tim Horton's as advertised by the company's marketing geniuses. It is safe to say that this isn't the worst way to market this visually attractive artery-clogger; however, the scheme begins to unwind after only one bite. The problem here is that the donut tastes like shit. 

Let's analyze the situation:

(1) This product is marked as something akin to a strawberry.
(2) The product does not taste like a strawberry.
(3) The product tastes like shit.
*The assumption that Tim Horton's made at this point is that it is better to market an edible product by what it looks like as opposed to what it tastes like. Unfortunately, this leaves many consumers feeling duped; most will not purchase the product again.
(4) Marketing a product explicitly as something that tastes like shit is a bad business decision.
*This premise contains an important assumption: people don't like eating shit.

Without completing the syllogism here, we can see why the Tim Horton's advertisers went where they did with this. Let us, however, embrace the dark truth that premise #4 (and particularly the assumption within in it) is wrong. 

From here a much more elegant advertising campaign begins to take form:

Bill O'Reilly, eat your heart out.