Beware the backfiring spoof

The type of mockery marketing that has been pinging between the political parties does seems to be winning favour in the commercial world (The super spoof weapon, MW 6 May).

But humour, like the pistol pictured in the article, can backfire. Just because a satirical swipe at the enemy plays well in the marketing department doesn’t mean it will have any traction with the public.

BMI and easyJet, for instance, recently unveiled ads that seek to capitalise on BA’s well-documented difficulties. But will the public find it persuasive or puerile? And doesn’t Yahoo!’s US ad attacking Google (“there’s nothing to look at but a box and a button”) simply look like an inferior brand’s cheap attempt to score points off a bigger and better rival? An even more glaring example were the “grinning Gordon” outdoor ads run by the Tories, which probably did more for Labour than its own posters.

John McWilliams, Brandpool

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