3 Risky Marketing Campaigns that Worked


Domino’s Pizza, after receiving scathing reviews on the taste of their pizza, made one of the riskiest moves in marketing history by embracing their bad publicity. Why it worked: The naysayers wouldn’t have given it another try based on the traditional “New and Improved” marketing. By giving the complaints a louder voice, consumers were intrigued and curious about the new recipe. Domino’s invested directly in their customers via taste tests and transparency campaigns, encouraging feedback of all kinds. The resulting turnaround is touted by many as the riskiest – and most effective – marketing campaign ever. Not only were people talking about and buying the product, but former disgruntled customers were flocking back to the brand. 2. In an effort to raise customer awareness surrounding the new Ford Focus, Ford created an entire character, an outspoken sock puppet named Doug. The idea was that Doug, being a puppet, could say things that wouldn’t be as generally acceptable coming from a human spokesperson. Doug travels in a Ford Focus driven by his human straight-man, John, both characters utilizing Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube along the way. Why it worked: Frankly, everyone loves Doug. People are interacting with Doug and John through social media sites on a daily basis. Doug has been Ford’s license to walk a little on the wild side and has gained a loyal following across the nation. 3. Dr Pepper recently unveiled its newest product, Dr Pepper 10. The ad campaign they chose is one of the riskiest I’ve seen: Not for Women. The idea is to create a “manly” brand surrounding the new drink in order to boost sales in a typically smaller demographic for diet soda. Why it (may) work: I will be the first to say that it’s too soon to know if this very risky decision will work in the long run for Dr Pepper, but it has accomplished the first goal in marketing because people are definitely talking about it. Dr Pepper says that 40% of the people who have tasted Dr Pepper 10 are women. Says executive vice president of marketing, Jim Trebilcock, “Women get the joke. ‘Is this really for men or really for women?’ is a way to start the conversation that can spread and get people engaged in the product.” Time will tell if conversation surrounding the product will turn into purchasing in this scenario.