Research in neuroscience and human behavior has determined that — while we may not be consciously aware of it, or even want to admit it — we humans are much more influenced by bad than good.
Despite countless successes by brands like Campbell Soup (which attacked Progresso), Domino’s (which pitted its sandwiches against Subway), and Pepsi (whose “Pepsi Challenge” caused Coca-Cola to abandon its storied secret recipe), my experience is that brand managers, and even CMOs, are often very reluctant to entertain any kind of negativity in their messaging — to the point that even words like “no” and “never” are rejected when simply proposed in a headline. These marketers seem to be fearful of attaching the slightest hint of negativity to their brand, and are convinced that a positive message is always stronger than a negative one.
I wish I had better news for them, but that’s just not the case.
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