Graeme Newell

negative marketing: how to build brands on irritation & annoyance

[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_video link=”″ size=”825″][vc_column_text]Sometimes the best way to bond with customers is to show them you have something in common – a shared hatred.  In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell shows how the world’s best advertisers win hearts by ridiculing the people who annoy us the most.

They say that you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar, but some negativity in advertising can be a fantastic boon to your existing advertising lineup.

Positive Branding vs. Negative Branding

Positive emotions are the most common types that we see in advertising. Most companies build their brands around building up the egos of their customer and basking in the glory. These are emotions like adventure, or freedom, or anything else that really lifts the customer up.

Now take that same emotion of adventure and freedom, and turn it on its head. Now you have one of the most powerful emotions that unite workers all over the world: the soul-crushing oppression of the workplace and bosses. This is where negative advertising shines

Negative Marketing to Say What Everyone Wants to, But Can’t

Sarcasm and humor are some of the darkest advertising techniques available to a marketer. As has been said, humor is rage with its makeup on. While some advertisers use the positive end of adventure and freedom to connect to their customers, even more effective sometimes is to flip it around and show the feeling of being oppressed and trapped by work. This is a feeling that most of the world can identify with – and it’s negative advertising at its finest. Humor is perfect way to vent the frustrations many feel towards their bosses and coworkers.

Negative Advertising Sticking it to The Man

While coworkers are a common target of negative marketing, unloading on the boss man is always the most effective way to go. Negative advertising is fantastic for bonding with customers because it takes something that is universally loathed and ridicules it. As must as we as humans don’t want to admit it, often times camaraderie found in a shared enemy is just as strong, or stronger, than camaraderie found in a shared love or passion.  And in this case, everyone has a boss. There is always someone, or something, that is holding you down. Be it ones direct superior at work, parents, or any other authority figure, everyone chafes under the hand of ‘The Man’ every now and then.

Negative Branding as a Unifier

Most people don’t like to admit to having negative feelings. Feelings like rage, jealousy, misery, and pride are labeled as undesirable feelings and are pushed out of ‘polite’ conversation. The only problem with this is these exact negative emotions are what make us human. So use these negative emotions in your negative branding to let your viewers know that it’s ok to feel resentment towards their boss, and that you feel the same way too.

So to recap

  • Negative branding and positive branding are just two sides of the same coin. In this case we examined how the positive branding approach to freedom is adventure, and the negative branding approach is the oppression we feel at the hands of coworkers and bosses.
  • Negative marketing is a way for advertisers to tap into the feelings that nearly everyone experiences, but are discouraged from vocalizing in ‘polite’ society.
  • Negative advertising for oppression can have many different foci, but the most effective is The Man, or whoever is holding you down.

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