Marketing Win/Marketing Fail: Will People Fall for Anything?
We are highlighting two companies that both make bold claims about the health benefits of their products this week. It is often said that consumers will fall for anything. Anti-ageing necklaces. Sneakers that cure insomnia. Make a claim with conviction and anyone will believe it. But is this actually true? Are consumers, in fact, becoming more conscious about marketing and learning not to take everything they are told by advertisers at face value? Let’s see.
Marketing Win: Hõt Dõg Water
Visitors to a recent Car Free Day in Vancouver came across a curious stall. Amidst the various food trucks and information kiosks, one tent stood out. One of them was selling bottles of unfiltered hot dog water, complete with a hot dog inside. Taster samples were even handed out by a guy dressed as a hot dog.
Why would anyone in their right mind want to drink the runoff produced by boiling tubes of highly processed meat? Well, according to the company, hot dog water is “keto compatible” and can aid in weight loss, increased brain function, increased vitality, and it can even help the drinker look younger. It also promised to aid your body’s ability to access calcium channel receptors in your heart and achieve “max capacity for biological defences”.
And how much did it cost for all of these benefits? The low-low price $38.
Of course, it was a stunt. It turns out the brain behind it was an artist. Small print below the advertising stated: “hot dog water in its absurdity hopes to encourage critical thinking related to product marketing and the significant role it can play in our purchasing choices”.
The company’s goal was clearly to teach a lesson but not before they reportedly sold 70 litres of the stuff.
The outrageousness of the stunt tied with the stylish packaging and signs acted as a warning not to get pulled in by the slick appearance of a product and to always question the things advertisers are telling them. Think Smart Water. The little squiggle, known as a tilde, above the ‘O’ in hot and dog was also a nice, satirical touch.
Marketing Fail: Goop
A company that the makers of Hõt Dõg Water probably had in mind when they came up with their health drink concept was Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop empire.
The company and its website have become notorious for its spurious claims and outrageously-priced products. This week, it came in for some more criticism for what was seen as deceptive advertising.
It seems Goop has tried to clean up its act by adding tags “For Your Enjoyment” or “Supported by Science” to its articles. Despite the disclaimers, nonprofit organization Truth in Advertising said it found 51 examples of false advertising on the site last year. If the guidelines were an attempt to improve public trust in the company then it spectacularly backfired. How are consumers meant to trust it now? Maybe Goop is banking on consumers being so gullible they will just ignore the tags anyway and go back to buying whichever new health discovery they read about next.