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Negative Marketing is Actually More Positive Than You Think!

Have you ever wondered why some companies ridicule each other in commercials? Well, if you’re asking yourself this question, I’m here to tell you that this technique is called negative marketing.

What is Negative Marketing?

Negative marketing is a ploy in which a company sheds light on the “mistakes” that another competitor makes in their industry. This tactic aims to extract negative emotions from a potential customer toward a competitor’s product or service. That way, they will be less likely to be attracted to that company. It focuses on emotions humans feel, like anger, inconvenience, and rage. This technique’s main intent is to display the company’s product as superior in the eyes of its clients/consumers. However, not before digging around in the dirt first.

How To Effectively Use Negative Marketing?

There are 5 proven areas where negative marketing can be effective:


According to psychologists, people tend to be more drawn toward intriguing negative news. It seems to spark curiosity and that is why journalists and media keep that in mind while putting up their titles. Headlines are a good way to build emotion and capture attention quickly.

“The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend”

Remember that friend you made just because both of you disliked the same teacher or class back in middle-school? Well, this isn’t much different! Associating yourself through a shared negative opinion creates relevancy and comfort. That is why, in marketing, it might not be a bad idea to be a little vocal about what isn’t exactly up your alley. This strategy may attract the exact audience you want and possibly push away customers that you don’t. Turns out, you might be surprised about not losing as many customers as you’d be gaining. So, if this is seems something you’re interested in, have at it! However, always be cautious and try not to be too radical and keep things as “harmless” as you can. Some examples? Sure! Think about hating on coffee, or the color navy, or saying a competitors -let’s say- restaurant theme is more “grunge” than “flowery”, etc.

Share Negative Experiences

Similar to the point above, focus on common things that people are bound to dislike or commonly dislike. Think about low-quality products, waking up early, traffic, loud music in restaurants, etc. Use emotional touch points as a method of tapping into the user experience to make them feel heard and related to. Make sure to stay away from offering solutions to these problems (for now).

Be Controversial

People like to watch things go down in commercials. Competition is exciting, intriguing and everyone wants to hear the tea.  Drawing a friendly but not completely shade-free comparison with your competitors in a commercial might be just the push you need to bring some light to your product in such an online heavy life we live. This definitely doesn’t come without a risk, but if you think it’s your path, then it could really work for you! Many big corporate companies decide to go down that road at some point, as a classic example of this is Samsung. Think about that one time where Samsung decided to throw shade at Apple in an unending battle to the top between IOS and Android.

Clear Up Why Something Stinks

Clarify why something is not good enough by presenting a logical argument to support your words. This process will portray you as an expert and grant you the trust of your audience and customers. Then you can think about providing alternative solutions. For example, if you’re a retail clothing business, you can explain how your products are made of better textiles and look more fashionable and high quality than that of your competitors.

To conclude, negative marketing is kind of like a magic potion. It might do wonders for exposure, but you should be very wary of the mess it might create. So stay careful, use it wisely, and good luck my marketing gurus!

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