Negative Advertising, Marketing and Publicity

Attention Model
Knowledge Center


Sarah Daghman
Lecturer, Russian Federation

Negative Advertising, Marketing and Publicity


What is Negative Marketing Exactly?

Negative marketing can be defined as a technique/tool used by marketers to enter the market using twisted and risky methods in which products/services are promoted in a provocative way that creates controversy, with the intention of spreading and keeping them in the memory of the targeted segments as long as possible. In other words, making use of the audience's negative feelings of anger, rage, and annoyance and creating a buzz about their product/service and consequently, can have a positive effect on the sales of the company.

An Example of Negative Marketing

For example, Nike's marketing campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick with the slogan: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.". This campaign caused great controversy as some people supported it while others disagreed with it so much that they burned their Nike sneakers. This campaign raised a lot of fuss and was covered by worldwide media and the hashtag #JustDoIt became so trending on social media. All this caused Nike's sales to increase and it boosted their online popularity, visibility, and even SEO. Below some more examples. Yes, it is more widespread than you probably think…

Negative Marketing Examples

How Can a Firm Effectively Use Negative Marketing?

There are a number of strategies that marketers can adopt and use judiciously:
  1. CAUSE CONTROVERSY: When an advert is controversial, it automatically creates a stir in the mind of consumers and enhances the brand image in their minds. Nevertheless, the company must always be ready to deal with the controversy and defend their case instead of losing their reputation. For example, Gillette started a controversial commercial calling out "toxic masculinity", which created a spark in consumers who either praised their efforts or criticized it.
  2. HIGHER POSITIONING: placing the brand in a position that the company wants to create in the consumers' minds (a position higher than its competitors) by changing the current position in the market and establishing itself in a place of authority or by putting its competitors down and showing how they are better than their competitors. For example, the long-lasting war between Coca Cola versus Pepsi where both the brands want to prove that they are better than the other.
  3. CREATE A NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE FOR CONSUMERS: These experiences annoy and irritate them, but at the same time, they enjoy discussing these negative experiences which stimulate debate about the brand and keeps it in the minds of consumers.
  4. SHARE A NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE: When companies share a negative experience that their audience can relate to so to stir up passions, tap into their consumer's emotions, and bond with them on a personal level, all this can build brand loyalty, and create a bond between consumer and brand.
Negative marketing can be very effective when handled with utmost care and precision by the marketers and in small doses. It is most effective when the company's name is well established and has credible loyal consumers.

⇨ Do you agree that negative marketing is an effective strategy or do you think it is too risky? Please share your ideas with me!

Gupta Aayushi et al (2019), "Negative Marketing - Strategy Analysis", International Journal of Advance Research, Ideas and Innovations in Technology Vol. 5, pp.333-335.
Jonah Berger et al (2010, "Positive Effects of Negative Publicity: When Negative Reviews Increase Sales", Marketing science Vol. 29, No. 5, pp. 815–827.


Leigh Cowan
CEO, Australia

Good Article BUT it Pays to Understand the Definition of the Word, 'Marketing'

It is REALLY important to understand the meaning of the word, #Marketing. Marketing is NOT a synonym...


More on Attention Model:
DIscussion Topics
👀Negative Advertising, Marketing and Publicity
Cases of Getting the Attentiion of Consumers. Examples
Special Interest Group

Do you know a lot about Attention Model? Become our SIG Leader

Attention Model
Knowledge Center

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2023 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V16.0 - Last updated: 27-1-2023. All names ™ of their owners.