The Dark Side of Direct Marketing
December 22, 2009
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Tonight I was writing a post for this blog about Spam (that I will release soon) when I have found this Direct Marketing campaign made by Unicef, that actually made me think a lot, and made me think from the first moment that It was really a bad idea of direct marketing, not for the result, but for the direct emotional effects on the people targeted.

The Direct Marketing campaign consist in sending faxes to people at their workplace, with a message like “My mom told me you are my father, please call this number”, but once the number is called Unicef answer. In my opinion this is really a bad Direct marketing campaign, because makes the person uncomfortable on a part of his life that probably he doesn’t want to share.


Why I’m so worried about this campaign?

Where They Send – They send this fax to workplaces, where people actually (and usually) are willing to keep their professional and private life separated. Lot of people that I know they don’t share anything private with coworkers. It’s a professional choice, everyone can choose to do so, to let them know by others as they are willing to. If this fax arrives to the studio of a Doctor (for the doctor) and is an assistant that picks up the message, the scenario is that the assistant can know something dark of the past of the boss, crossing the line between private and professional. Ok it’s an hoax, but it can create some judgments to the assistant, potentially cracking the consistency of the person.

What They Send – They send an emotional message. Stronger is the emotion, stronger the message is delivered and fixed in the mind of the target. In this message the emotion can be GUILT, REGRET, SECRECY (not good emotions). Probably some of the people could have a “dark side” or something can have happened in their past, making an old hurt open. All the package of emotions are not positive ones like LOVE, WILL, CHANGE and so on… they touch the dark side of the emotional spectrum.

Privacy Needed – Thinking about this idea, I have thought about the zones of the personal life that a marketer can touch of the target, when creating a campaign, in a way to deliver the message.

Adobe Illustrator CS3.png

Marketers can touch only the Green Zone, that is what everyone see, meaning that you are conscious of who you are and what your values are, and how you are seen by others. There is nothing to hide, the target is safe and you can use what you know about the target to bring the emotion to the message. The Orange Zone is something that others know but that the target doesn’t, that can be considered in some ways an ok area where to invest, the secret is not to make uncomfortable the target (for example selling soap to a person that stinks but that he doesn’t consider himself owner of bad smell, everyone knows but him). The Red Zone is somewhere that no-one except the target can enter, is something that only he knows and everything that is that zone has to kept secret and not willing to share (or it will be in the Green One). That is something with an hight privacy.

Unicef with this campaign managed to trigger all the things that should never been touched, Bad Emotions, Privacy Violation and Hidden Facts. Probably some that called had some recall in their past about a missing son or else, and probably the hight percentage of donations, comes from the guilt and the will to feel better after that something so bad come out.

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There are 2 comments

  • Public Relations is all about pleasing the common people.-,-

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