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August 25, 2010 / jasonpinto

Egg-cellent File Footage

The expanding salmonella egg scandal is not really a laughing matter.

About a week ago, I saw one of the initial reports on the morning TV news. The anchor’s demeanor certainly let me know that it was a serious story. His tone of voice was appropriate to words that stated that hundreds of millions of eggs were possibly affected, and that people nationwide should take heed.

I was absolutely paying attention to the story, and the seriousness of it was sinking in.

And then it happened.

They played file-footage of people picking up and inspecting eggs. There was no doubt that the video was made in the early 80’s. This could be seen by the quality of the video, the permed hair-dos, the clothing, and A-Ha’s “Take on Me” blaring in the background.

At this point, I became instantly distracted. I started tuning out from the additional news & commentary on the story, and instead, I started making jokes about the awful file-footage video (yes, this means I was making fun of the hair styles and the teal sweatshirts; however, I think “Take on Me” is still a great song.)

Do Your Marketing Efforts Cause People to Cringe?

When it comes to our company, product, or service, we certainly want people to notice and pay attention to our marketing messages. We want them to respect what we do, and hopefully take steps to move forward with our company.

Now while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using humor in our marketing efforts, we may want to avoid  landing on the “unintentional comedy” scale.

This could occur if our website design is horribly out-of-date. It may happen if we are heavily using the same stock photos that are also plastered on the marketing materials of thousands of other companies. Other things that could cause someone to lose respect for our company might include very poor grammar, or perhaps an attempt at data personalization that goes very wrong (“‘Dear Frank?!?!!?’ My name is not Frank!”)

Certainly, we do not want to become so fearful of making a mistake that we put a freeze on our marketing efforts. But we should always be willing to take the time to test. We should put ourselves in the shoes of the recipient, of the people in our target audience, and attempt to determine what their reaction might be to our materials. We should Google our own company. We should look at our Twitter and Facebook page from the perspective of a prospect. We should ask friends or associates for honest opinions on what they think of our creative pieces and our message.

If we take these types of actions, then we certainly will be on the right path to ensuring that we do not end up with (horrible pun alert!) eggs on our marketing activities.

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