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Hall of Shame: Countrywide Home Loans

Marketing is about persuasion, so occasionally marketers stretch the truth. But how bad is a company when it mocks it’s own advertising in a court of law? Pretty bad. Countrywide Home Loans is no stranger to litigation and is considered by some to be among those lenders most responsible for the mortgage crisis. Maybe it […]

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Tobacco in an irresponsible marketing death spiral

This week, tobacco companies were dealt a blow when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing lawsuits to proceed under state law for deceptive advertising of “light” cigarettes. Tobacco companies are now in what I call an irresponsible marketing death spiral: The proliferation of traditional and social media have created millions of professional […]

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“Sexy” tights for tweens on Amazon.com

I have no problem with the sale of sexy lingerie. It’s, well, sexy. But it’s a bit jarring to see a product on Amazon called Girls Spider Web Sexy Tights Hosiery Leg Wear from a risque lingerie company called PrettySinful next to the picture of the little girl, above. One Amazon customer reviewer sums it […]

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Hall of Shame: Classmates.com

“Your former classmates are trying to contact you! Upgrade now to see their messages!” You’ve received Classmates.com spam and endured their irritating yearbook ads. While most consider the “classmates are trying to contact you” message a marketing trick, Anthony Michaels of San Diego, CA took Classmates.com at their word and paid $15 for an upgrade […]

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Princeton Premier: Bad marketing or vanity scam?

Princeton. Americans immediately think of Princeton University, the Ivy League, or possibly the Princeton Review. They probably don’t think of Princeton Premier, a company you’ve never heard of that claims to be “the most interactive online business community in the world today.” I first learned about Princeton Premier yesterday when I received the following email: […]

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Hall of Shame: Misleading mortgage marketers

Every homeowner gets them: Misleading letters from mortgage lenders informing you that you are eligible for a lower payment. Here’s one I received a few months ago from Eagle Nationwide Mortgage: The letter above follows the typical template: Your mortgage lender’s name is at the top, along with your “account number” Contains the word “URGENT” […]

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Responsible today. Irresponsible tomorrow?

Responsible Marketing is relative, isn’t it? Take a look at the following cigarette ads from When Doctors, and Even Santa, Endorsed Tobacco in the New York Times: These ads weren’t objectionable then, even though they were deceptive. Today they’d be considered outrageous. The fact is, Responsible Marketing is a moving target. What’s responsible today, may […]

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Personnel Concepts’ marketing:
Out of compliance?

I don’t like receiving upsetting letters. Nobody does. But here’s an envelope I received in the mail yesterday: +enlarge Why would I receive a letter from The Compliance Service Department at PCI marked “Important – Open Immediately?” I didn’t know who PCI was, but I was afraid it may have something to do with our […]

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Responsible or not? FreeCreditReport.com

FreeCreditReport.com has done a great job with their marketing—it’s hard to come up with a company that’s created more memorable ads recently. People are paying attention to their ads, sharing them on social sites and singing along. View this video on YouTube The problem is, the credit reports aren’t free at all. When you get […]

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When do unsolicited messages become spam?

Yesterday, several members of my Outsource Marketing team received a solicitation via an email form that none of us wanted. I personally responded with a simple email: Don’t SPAM us with your … ‘opportunities’ anymore. Especially via our new business inquiries form. Thank you. This set off a nuclear reaction of emails: A curt message […]

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10 marketing mistakes to avoid now

The financial crisis has everyone on edge, myself included. I lost my bank, and I’m not sure who’s next. Should I put my money in coffee cans and bury it in the backyard? When people are on edge, sometimes they do things they normally wouldn’t do. Same goes for businesses. Here are a 10 things […]

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Responsible or not? Advertising adultery

Ashley Madison is a social networking/dating service—for married people. Although the company isn’t breaking any laws by helping facilitate adultery (soon they’ll have a money back guarantee if you don’t successfully have an affair), they aren’t breaking any laws. Still, their billboard only lasted three days in Times Square, an ad they produced for ESPN […]

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Bumvertising: Welcome to the Hall of Shame

Bumvertising is exactly what it sounds like: Advertising on the homeless. It started in 2005 when 22-year-old University of Washington grad Ben Rogovy was looking for a cheap way to promote another company he started. Here’s a quick overview: View this video on YouTube The Bumvertising debate has attracted local, national and even international media […]

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Responsible or not: Emotional manipulation

A vast sector of modern advertising… does not appeal to reason but to emotion; like any other kind of hypnoid suggestion, it tries to impress its objects emotionally and then make them submit intellectually. ~ Erich Fromm Would you rather make women feel better about themselves or about your brand? In a recent study inspired […]

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