When Marketing Goes Wrong. Waaay Wrong.

Fear. Marketers use it all the time to get your attention, toy with your emotions, and loosen up your wallet. It’s considered one of the most effective marketing tools because it typically evokes such strong natural reactions in humans. Therefore, it’s no surprise that tons and tons of companies attempt to take advantage of this by utilizing motivation by fear in their advertising.

For the most part, ads of this nature come off okay (albeit sheissty), but occasionally, someone will flat out miss the mark. And I’m talking by a freakin mile here, people.

OMG. The termites are coming!

So I came home from lunch today, and I went through my usual routine of snagging the snail mail on my way up the driveway. As I was sifting through the day’s offerings, I noticed what has to be considered one of the most piss-poor direct mailers in history.

Without further ado, here she blows:

I just want to make a few points about this…

  • First of all, I damn well hope termite infestations are reported every day during swarm season; otherwise, you suckers would be out of a job!
  • Is the fact that infestations are reported daily supposed to scare me? Give me a break! Big numbers scare people. Think “Outbreak
  • Pertinent pictures are a must. So what the hell happened here? What do 5:28 am and a woman passed out on a bed have to do with termites? Hello?
  • I can see the defcon 4 termite boardroom now, replete with weather maps tracking all the termite swarms across the US. Cleverly, they’ve synchronized their direct mailers to show exactly when this cloud of termites will inevitably descend on my area. Oh, but then they’ve also used the qualifying word “may” to show that there’s still the distinct possibility that these termite swarms don’t necessarily have to wreak havoc on my humble home…Gee, their commitment to close the deal astounds me!

This is the worst case of motivation by fear that I have ever seen in a direct mailer, hands down. If you’re looking to improve your marketing skills, simply do the opposite of everything they’ve done in this ad for Terminix, a huge pest-control company with a tiny advertising brain.

Oh, and in case you didn’t click on that link above, be sure to do it! There’s a really freaky woman on a flash video on the home page. I’m talking really really freaky. I wouldn’t lie to you.

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5 comments… read them below or add one

Bullock April 6, 2006

She is freaky! Oh yeah and that mailing did suck!


Evan April 7, 2006

What. The. Shit.

My faith in humanity is chipped away with every passing day. I really hope this mailer doesn’t actually work.


olivier blanchard April 7, 2006

Sounds like we need to raise the termite threat level to orange.

I’m all in favor of daily news update of the termite army’s advance during the news. Maybe just before the weather? “Tonight’s termite infestation report brought to you by Orkin!”

I can’t wait.


Jennifer Grucza April 10, 2006

I took it to mean that there are 528 termite infestations reported every day, but it is somewhat confusing using a clock as the number.


Chris P. April 10, 2006

Excellent point. It would benefit Mensa to send out brain teasers in mailers, but Terminix? C’mon…


Hoot and/or Holler

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