I was out riding my bike last week through the rolling prairies of Colorado and I happened across a farm with a sign posted along the road stating “Organic Farm Do Not Spray”. As a marketer, naturally I began to ponder the sign’s message. Was it an example of brilliant marketing, accidental marketing or was it an authentic posting to anyone who may come along and try to spray pesticides on the farm?
I’ve decided that it must be closer to the ‘brilliant marketing’ idea rather than sincerely trying to keep random sprayers away. But think about it. It isn’t a sign about the farm products or the quality of the farm products which most of us would just ignore as blatant product advertising. It is much more subtle. One who is interested in organic fruits or vegetables and might be passing by the farm is immediately engaged. After all, the farmer cares enough to post a sign that spraying is not allowed, therefore, he must be serious about organic farming. Further, I (the target audience) must stop and purchase this fine, real organic product that the farmer cares about so much as evidenced by his animosity towards those who would try to spray an organic farm. (or something along those thoughts)
This type of marketing is akin to the dire warning (marketing message) that goes along with Pfizer’s blockbuster pill, Viagra: “If you experience an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours, seek medical help immediately.” Now, granted, a 4 hour erection could be medically dangerous, but think about the marketing message. If I were a man having trouble getting an erection and I see this warning about a 4 hour erection, I’m immediately convinced that this is the product for me. After all, “who wouldn’t want a 4 hour erection?” is what the target audience is secretly thinking. To circle back around to my original topic, do you think that the Viagra warning is also part marketing message similar to the organic farm message or is it a true warning that happens to help sell the product?
It’s almost subliminal, wouldn’t you say?