It’s been 2019 for about five seconds and we’ve already been bombarded with a relentless stream of scandals and social media backlashes that we’ve convinced ourselves that we care about. Everyone is saying that we’re becoming more and more entitled and opinionated and… well, they have a point.
With social media, it’s hard not to hone in on the negatives and listen to those with unpopular opinions, and marketers take advantage of that, big time. This particular method of marketing has come to be known as “Outrage Tactics”. For example, declaring your disgust for a brand could feel therapeutic but it’s more likely to fuel their fire than bring them to justice. Marketing campaigns are here to shock you into submission, and here’s why.
For One, It’s Guaranteed to Work
Marketers know that if they create a campaign that will shock and cause a massive uproar, they’re heading in the right direction. Any publicity is good publicity after all and this definitely seems to be the route that they’ve been focusing on. For example, just last month we saw the peak of social media outrage with #sausagegate. Not sure what I mean? Unless you’ve been living under a huge rock, the biggest retailer of sausage rolls, Greggs, released their new vegan sausage roll just in time for the new year!
Where many felt that it was a long time coming, others didn’t see it the same way… Piers Morgan even made a whole feature of it on ‘Good Morning Britain’ where he tasted it then “puked” into a bin afterwards. Sick idea there, Piers. Regardless of your stance on the whole situation, Greggs hit the jackpot in terms of marketing awareness and probably made a lot of money off the exposure from the ad alone. Not bad, eh?
They’re Fishing for Likes
Marketing teams know that if they create a campaign that gets everyone into a tizzy, that alone will help sell the product. If you think about it, their main priority is to sell, so when you’re off chatting to Dom about the most recent Gillette ad, they’ve already won that all-important space in your mind. So now that you know about the ad and it just so happens to appear on your feed, you’re more likely to engage with the post than scroll straight past it.
Not only that – when everyone’s talking about it, you’ve now formed an opinion! Something many could call dangerous, but hey, everyone’s allowed one. And now because you’ve formed an opinion, you care. You care because mass exposure has encouraged you to form your opinion seeing as everyone’s talking about it! It’s a vicious circle, but it works and marketers know that.
They’re More Common Than You Think
Outrage tactics have become increasingly popular throughout the years, hidden in plain sight. For example, throughout Christmas we were bombarded with messages of shock and outrage over the fact that a radio station in Cleveland had banned the classic Christmas song, ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ due to its negative connotations. The news then erupted over-night and was then considered to have been ‘blown out of proportion’ by many.
In fact, so many people had such a strong opinion about it, that it trended for the whole of December and we’re even still talking about it now (not including my mentioning it here). This is where the tactics come into play. We know that people will be angered by this nugget of information. So incredibly annoyed, in fact, that they’ll mention it on social media, tagging their friends and using related hashtags to show their all-important outrage. Once you’ve screamed your anger to whichever platform you prefer, they’ve then got what they wanted out of you and the cycle continues.
Gillette Has It Pegged
Another example includes Gillette, who have caused a heap of controversy last month with their most recent ad campaign. The basics of the ad were to shed a light on toxic masculinity and the long-awaited inclusivity of everyone. However, this wasn’t a great direction to head for the brand, according to a few keyboard warriors anyway. Some who have even taken it as far as swearing off the brand entirely! Bit harsh.
But, due to the conversation that has arisen through the campaign, it’s created a natural divide. You could say that this would be counter-productive, but then again… what if this is what they were hoping for? A world-wide conversation about a taboo topic that then becomes discussed openly by everyone? I’m just putting it out there.
It All Started When…
I mean, it’s no secret that the likes of tabloids and news outlets scream their negative headlines from the rooftops. Even Donald Trump has preached his stance on the whole ‘fake news’ fiasco. But the fact of the matter remains that it’s all too easy for them to create a misleading headline to create outrage and entice people to buy their issue or to tune into their bulletin.
The media industry is programmed to create the most clickable or the most readable headline that will create the most intrigue and interest around that particular topic, especially if that topic is a few days or weeks old and they need to put a new spin on the subject. It’s what they’ve done for years and years, and it’s now taken its natural place on social media. The only downside is that now you can see everyone’s opinions.
Marketers Know What They’re Doing and You Should Too
So, now you know. Marketers are trying to offend you to gauge your reaction. Who knew?! Of course, now that you know the truth, maybe you might be inclined to react differently. That’s your prerogative, though. Regardless of your stance on Outrage Tactics, I think that we can all agree that they’re sneaky, yet brilliant.
Overall, Outrage Tactics work precisely how they’re meant to; to encourage outrage and induce anger throughout the general public and gauge a reaction, regardless of your views. Now that we’ve pointed it out, you’re bound to see it everywhere you turn! Sorry about that.