Marketing experts are cautioning brands that have incorporated CTV National News host Lisa LaFlamme’s recent dismissal into their marketing to be wary of potential blowback. While brands that integrate news moments into their branding can generate attention and potential sales, they also face the risk of being seen as opportunistic and may come under increased scrutiny from customers and employees.
Retail analyst Bruce Winder highlights that no brand is perfect and suggests that brands should ensure their own house is in order before capitalizing on news events for marketing. He emphasizes the potential high risk involved in such moves and the need for thorough preparation.
Two brands that have already taken steps related to LaFlamme’s dismissal include Wendy’s and Dove Canada. Wendy’s changed its Canadian Twitter account profile picture to its mascot with gray hair instead of the usual red locks. The tweet reads, “because a star is a star no matter hair color” and includes LaFlamme’s name in a hashtag.
Dove Canada, on the other hand, launched a campaign called “Hold the Gray,” emphasizing that “age is beautiful” and advocating that women should age on their terms without consequences. While Dove did not directly reference LaFlamme in its campaign, it donated $100,000 to women’s advocacy group Catalyst and encouraged others to turn their profile pictures gray.
Marketing experts have differing views on these campaigns. Some believe Wendy’s campaign was somewhat shallow, while Dove’s was considered deeper and more serious. Wendy’s was seen as less relevant to the issue of ageism and gray hair, while Dove has a history of addressing these topics in its campaigns.
Joanne McNeish, an associate professor of marketing, emphasized the importance of having a foundation and a relationship with the topics a brand supports in its campaigns. She mentioned that campaigns work best when there is a strong connection between the brand and the cause it is endorsing.
Associating a brand with a news story can yield both risks and rewards. While it can generate significant brand awareness and potentially lead to increased sales, it also exposes the brand to higher scrutiny and potential backlash. Brands need to tread carefully and be quick to tie themselves to a news moment before it fades from the zeitgeist or other brands overshadow them.
In summary, brands must be cautious when incorporating news events into their marketing efforts and should carefully consider the potential risks and rewards associated with such campaigns. Being genuinely aligned with the cause and prepared to respond to situations is essential in navigating the complexities of news-related marketing.