No Marketing can be Good Marketing


Sometimes the best marketing is no marketing at all. Huh? This seems to go against everything we cover on this blog, so how can this approach work? New research to be published in October 2014 in the Journal of Consumer Research gives new insights into the ways that some over-bearing marketing campaigns can backfire.

Consider this: parents want kids to eat healthy and try to persuade kids to eat their veggies. The problem is the pitch itself – the research found that the best way to pitch healthy food to children was to present is without any marketing message. Just give them the food. Don’t couch the veggies with messages about health, taste, or branding. It doesn’t matter and can actual push people away from a product. No one wants to be over-marketed to.

In the research study, children were read several variations of a study about a little girl who ate Wheat Thins before going to play. The study found that the number of crackers eaten was greatest with the group who got no information at all about the taste or health benefits of the crackers. The study was repeated with carrots – and the result was the same. Marketing messages that make too many strong claims can actual water down the effectiveness of the message.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show a compilation video of food commercials aimed at kids:
  2. Discuss this study with the class. Ask students their opinions about strong claims in marketing messages. When is it effective? When isn’t it effective?
  3. Divide students into groups. Have each group come up with 10 products that they believe are over-marketed or over-hyped.
  4. Then have each group come up with 10 products that have modest or no marketing.
  5. List the two categories of products on the board. Have students vote on which products they actually buy and why.

Source: New York Times


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