The marketing of dislike

There was a time when marketers would cringe at the thought of negative press – let alone the idea of purposefully seeking it.

The very idea of a bad product review, public outcry (remember New Coke?), or even a mere inkling of negativity in the same breath as the company they represent was nothing shy of a career swan song. Of course, we’ve gotten tougher with age. Our skin is thicker. Our audience more easily distracted. Our brave new world of marketing is in a constant state of envelope pushing and attention grabbing — even if it means catering to the once untouchable naysayers.

Take Miracle Whip’s latest for example. With the launch of the brand’s “Not for every relationship” campaign, the famed mayonnaise company is pitting significant (and ex-significant) others against one another. The catch? The brand is challenging couples to record a video where they can either speak to how the spread strengthened their relationship, or tore it apart like a carelessly constructed sandwich.

In watching the latest advertisement from Miracle Whip, the brand is pioneering a market for the dislike, so much as giving a soapbox to the unsung mayonnaise naysayers. One can assume the attempt is to further brand loyalty among the adorning, encourage the fence sitters to at least try the product, and – with a refreshing pinch of tongue-and-cheekiness – approach their detractors head-on. While the forefathers of marketing wouldn’t dream of giving said voice to those that detest their brand, the new wave has since changed the game; it allows for a discussion between the two factions of love and hate toward the brand. As the dull roars gain volume across our online avenues, those that otherwise would be uninvolved are forced into the conversation.

The methodology is no longer as hypodermic as the brand-to-consumer interactions of yesteryear; rather, the public get the last word (whether they like the product or not). The intent is no longer simply “use Miracle Whip”, but to create a discourse surrounding the brand, the demographic, and those that adamantly oppose it.  Although the particular campaign is, well, bold, it is playing off two very strong themes in contemporary culture: that is, divorce rates are at an all-time high and the internet is a shameless sea of possibility and vanity. In essence, manufacturing this apparent “deal breaker” of whether their product is good or intolerable among the sexes has opened up a new direction for the company: the marketing of dislike.

Whether or not the campaign will fall or fly has yet to be seen (and not to mention whether there is a notable return of investment), either way the Miracle Whip brand is certainly paving a new path – one that goes directly through their outspoken haters.