Questionable marketing?

The saying that all good publicity is good publicity is a bravado statement by those who were usually in trouble. Marketing today is a complex and subtle art form. Those who are good at it understand how people tick.

This letter and newsletter arrived at my office this week. A bit of harmless fun or something we should take seriously?

Firstly, I get the message – as a Company Director you have responsibilities for your staff. If we misbehave and there is a catastrophic outcome you could find yourself culpable. As a business we have policies in place about driving whilst on Company business. Flouting them is a serious matter.

So, a letter which looks as though it is from a Police Force (it isn’t) arrives addressed to my predecessor MD (I took over nearly three years ago) and is about our Company vans – of which we have precisely none. Not a great start then.

But then when you step back – is this how you should market an “awareness course”? We could have a custodial sentence – capitalised in the letter. The letter heading has logos from a number of organisations incising the Leicestershire Constabulary and the East Midlands Chamber. The latter did not give their consent to being used in this way. The headline on the ‘newspaper’ is wholly inappropriate – “Innes England Directors charged with corporate manslaughter

I have complained to the company concerned – Bott Limited. I also intend reporting them to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The whole campaign is, at best, in poor taste, and, at worst, offensive, misleading and wholly inappropriate.

I’ll keep you posted!

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