A WORD OF CAUTION- the content of this post may be offensive to some, but in all probability it will have you talking.
While perusing Shape Magazine my wife came across an, uh, outspoken ad for feminine hygiene wipes. The full page ad depicted a partially submerged beaver with the accompanying caption: A CLEAN BEAVER always FINDS MORE WOOD. Hmm. Oh and yes indeed for those who appreciate equality the pecker, peach and knob were represented in other ads as well (see the post by Adam Mordecai).
OK so I am not a prude and I have to admit this edgy ad did get my attention and it has resulted in lots of conversation. In fact I found all of these ads funny but I reckon that perhaps 50% of viewers may be outright offended.
If the bottom-line of your marketing is to sell then I am not so sure this worked. Take for example the folks who did find this offensive- they may well be boycotting Playtex Products as I write. It is after all their prerogative. Then there are the folks like me who laugh about it and find it encourages conversation. At the end of the day we might recall why it was so funny but do we really recall what is being sold? So who does that leave behind? They would be the buyers; the rest of us are simply waiting to see if Playtex can outdo itself with their next round of marketing events.
It all brings me back to something I have said over and over again. What is the intention? Surely Playtex did not simply toss up a handful of idea cards and pick the one that landed closest to the wall. I am sure they no longer want to be perceived as your grandmother's sort of company. So yeah I think I see where they are going. This is about an image change amidst an identity crisis.
I think from now on I am going to look at marketing in a whole new way.