Campaigns we love to hate (or hate we love)

When Weetabix and Heinz UK teamed up in this wholesome breakfast campaign... 

“Why should bread have all the fun, when there’s Weetabix? Serving up @HeinzUK Beanz on bix for breakfast with a twist. #ItHasToBeHeinz #HaveYouHadYourWeetabix”

it was a post that everyone hate.

Like seagulls on a chip, the public response on Twitter was fast and hilarious, and became an opportunity for other brands to compete for the best on-brand reaction.

What might initially look like a ‘fail’ is actually a roaring success, because Weetabix and Heinz UK managed to achieve international exposure. They went viral, they broke the internet, etc. 

Nothing gets high engagement quite like controversy, particularly when it comes to food/drink. 

In 2020, Boost Juice launched their new ‘Pineapple Coriander Twist’ smoothie with a clever social campaign that got a lot of traction. Taking public engagement a step further, Boost Juice even went as far as to buy the domain and dedicated the website to coriander memes, with a sweeping statement, ‘This website was made by Boost to celebrate herb royalty.’

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A post shared by Boost Juice (@boost_juice)

And who can forget the advertising stunt by Hungry Jacks with the release of their Big Jack burger?

Inevitably, McDonalds has taken legal action against Hungry Jacks, alleging that the Big Jack is an infringement on the Big Mac trademark. Taking cue, Hungry Jacks responded with the above ad, reaping even further exposure. Even with a law suit on their hands, Hungry Jacks isn’t backing down…

“Big Jack is a registered trademark of Hungry Jack’s and it is clearly evident that customers are not confused or misled that the Big Jack and Mega Jack burgers are only available at Hungry Jack’s.” A spokesperson for Hungry Jacks defended. 

This move by Hungry Jacks is bold, risky and very tongue in cheek, but being a big brand, with obviously a lot of lawyers, they’re pulling it off. A loss in the case will result in Hungry Jacks pulling the burger from their menu and destroying all promotional materials, but until then…

The Take Away

Advertising using controversy can be a powerful weapon – when done right. The thing is, it can be difficult to predict what the response will be like and if the pay-off is worth it. There’s always risk when launching a campaign that’s a bit out there, but often you just need to take a leap of faith and try. Our advice – monitor your campaigns closely and have a backup strategy in place in case things go too haywire. It’s also generally not recommended to pull an advertising stunt that will get you sued.

If you need help with branding or your marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with NOUS at [email protected] or 07 3003 0722.

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