How a Terrible Marketing Decision was Saved by User Generated Content


There are a few topics marketers shouldn’t touch in my opinion when it comes to advertising their product: religion, gender and politics.

The reasons why aren’t all that hard to recognize

  • By targeting a such specific group, you are limiting the potential reach of your product (especially when the product isn’t tailored to a specific niche customer base)
  • These are sensitive subjects to most that can easily lead to a lot bad publicity
  • And, let’s be honest…those groups are easy targets. There’s always a better, more creative solution

There are many that have made this mistake in the past, but the two that come to mind as of late are Dr. Pepper’s recent ad campaign “Its not for Women”  for their new low calorie option and Bic’s new For Her line of pens.

Marketing Done Wrong

Bad Marketing

In Dr. Pepper’s case, I have no idea what they were thinking.  In my mind, a low calorie substitute seemed like a perfect option to target women, who are usually much more self-conscious about their weight.

Instead, they decided to target men and ALIENATE women. On top of that stray away from the brand’s “One of a Kind” campaign that implied that Dr. Pepper was for everyone.

Their over the top commercials weren’t funny and totally miss the point IMHO, but you can judge for yourself.

** The official Dr. Pepper YouTube Channel has actually removed this commercial from their archive **

How User Generated Content Can Save the World (or your job)

Horrible Product NameHowever, the same type of marketing mistake had a much better outcome in the case of BIC thanks to USER GENERATED CONTENT.

I will say that BIC’s attempt to market their new line more towards women wasn’t in the harsh fashion Dr. Pepper did.

The pastel colors and design of the pens makes sense that more women may buy the product.  Still, no where does it say a man CAN’T use them (even though it states that it better fits a woman’s hand… seriously?).

As a man though, when I’m in need of a new writing utensil, I walk down the aisle, do a quick once over and throw something in the cart.  I typically don’t pay attention to color, or design, but if I saw “for Her” printed on the label, that would throw up a red flag, losing my potential sale.

To be honest assigning a specific sex to a type of pen is just ridiculous.  And if you are going to target one for women, where’s my Just for Men BIC Pen?

Just for Men BIC Pen

This isn’t just my rant though, Ellen used her soapbox to poke fun at the absurd notion that a regular pen doesn’t fit a woman’s needs.

And with the power of the Internet others were able to voice their opinion as well, turning a potential marketing disaster into a plethora of good in the digital marketing world. BIC’s for Her product page on Amazon exploded with user reviews.

User Reviews from Amazon

While none of the reviews are genuinely positive, they are hilarious (and very similar to the comment left on Bodyform’s Facebook page).  The user generated comments spread like wildfire on social media and also spawned articles from Gawker, Forbes, ABC News, and the Huffington Post among others. Dr. Pepper got many of the same links from major news outlets, but most in outrage or questioning the marketing decision, while BIC’s articles focused more on the user reviews in a positive light.

Social Impact for BIC for Her Pen on Amazon

Which proves how important product reviews are for dynamic user generated content, not only for the search engines, but social media AND to save us from dumb marketers everywhere, because as much as we like to think we know best, there are always people smarter, funnier and more clever than us.

Author Matthew Powers

Matthew Powers works as an in-house Internet Marketer with Blue Soda Promo. He measures out well at 6'8" 250lbs for the NBA, but his skin color and lack of athleticism has never held him back from lying about his career at the bar

More posts by Matthew Powers

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