Marketing objectionable advertisement has been a topic of discussion for many years. With the ever-growing population of social media, companies have to be careful with the way the present their products. No one wants to see a company fail because they didn’t think about how their advertisement might be received. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to market without being offensive. We’ll also give some examples of companies who have done it well. So, check out the rest of the article to see how you can avoid being offensive in your marketing!
Avoid obvious sexual or scatological humor, especially on children
When it comes to online advertising aimed at children, it’s especially important to avoid sexual or scatological humor. These types of images can be highly inappropriate for kids, especially those who are impressionable or are developing bodies.
Avoid humor that could be perceived as sexual or scatological
While not all sexual humor is offensive, if you are marketing to children, it is best to avoid sexual or scatological humor in your ads or marketing materials. This includes any images of nudity or sexual activity. It is also important to avoid using sexualized language that may make people feel uncomfortable, such as using an overly casual tone or referring to people as “sexual.” Be aware that in the United States, some states have laws governing what advertising can and cannot say about sex, and even what can be shown in advertising.
Avoid jokes using slang terms that might be sexual or scatological
Consider your audience and how they might respond to an unsavvy use of sexual or scatological terms. For example, using terms like “boner” and “balls” in an otherwise clean, family-friendly advertising campaign might make you seem a little raunchy. Likewise, if you’re trying to reach a younger audience, consider using your advertising to show them how to spell or write “slut” and “sex” correctly.
Do not use sexualized or scatological language when asking children to describe the characteristics of objects
If you ask a child to describe a toy, never use sexualized or scatological language. For example, don’t ask a four-year-old to name the parts of a “dildo” or a “dick.” Even if the child is familiar with the terms, it can be confusing and make the child feel uncomfortable. If you need help coming up with appropriate questions, consider asking the child what they think the toy is called.
If you use strong language, do so in moderation
If you want to use strong language in your advertising, use it sparingly. It is not a good idea to use strong language just to stand out or gain attention. This can be especially true for sexual or profane language.
Never use strong language to express displeasure
If you use strong language when responding to a comment, you only make yourself seem angry and you may come across as aggressive. People who use strong language to express displeasure almost always appear angry or argumentative. While you might be angry about someone’s comment, you don’t need to express that anger in your comments. Your response should be informative, educational, and helpful, not argumentative or angry.
Avoid using strong language to express emotion
When you use strong language to express an emotion, you communicate to the consumer that you’re angry or frustrated. And while your audience might be able to understand your frustration, they aren’t likely to share your reaction to the advertisement. Plus, strong language is more likely to cause a visceral reaction, which can make your reader feel uncomfortable.
Try to avoid using strong language to get your point across
If you feel the need to use strong language in your advertising, take a moment to consider whether the ads that your competitors are running would be suitable for an audience who may be easily offended. If you are using strong language as a means to get your point across, it may be more powerful to make your message more direct and less abrasive than to use strong language to try to sound authoritative.
Be aware of your audience
Know that different people are affected by different forms of advertising. For example, if you’re targeting an audience made up of people who are recovering from alcohol or drug abuse, you don’t need to use flashing neon billboards and flashy fonts that would only serve to trigger cravings. Likewise, if you’re advertising to the elderly or to children, you’ll need to make sure that your ads are appropriate.
Avoid suggestive or provocative poses or graphics that promote sexual activity
When it comes to advertising sexual products or services, it’s important to be thoughtful and consider the audience you’re trying to reach. If you’re marketing to children, you need to avoid using sexualized imagery and product packaging as this can have lasting negative effects on their perception of sexual health. If you’re marketing to an adult audience, consider whether or not your marketing material is appropriate and evocative of sexual activity. If not, it might be best to find a different way to promote your product.
Avoid sexy clothing and outfits
Clothing is an easy way to show off your body, and while it may seem harmless, sexy or revealing clothing can send the wrong message to people who are underage or who are recovering from sexual trauma. When you create images of women in bikinis or skimpy lingerie, you make it seem like sexual attraction is an “exciting” thing when in reality it can have devastating effects on survivors of sexual violence or anyone who has been sexualized as a child.
Don’t wear items of clothing that are too tight, too short, or too revealing
Clothing can also be a way to send sexual messages to others about your preferences. For example, wearing tight shirts or short shorts that show off your legs sends a sexual message to others that you are interested in casual sex.
Avoid sexy lingerie, swimwear, and underwear
Although lingerie and sexy underwear can be highly alluring to people of all ages, they can also send the wrong message about what you have to offer. For example, a woman wearing a thong bikini in her underwear advertisement might send the message that sex is all she cares about, which is not what you want to advertise to your local community.
Avoid graphic images or suggestive poses
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been busy in recent years making sure that companies don’t use sexualized imagery to entice people to buy their products. Not only can sexualized imagery lead to sexual harassment claims, but it can also have a negative impact on women’s self-esteem. The FTC’s guide for using imagery in advertising is intended to help you avoid sexualizing your brand and products by using more neutral images.
Avoid suggestive text messages or social media posts
When it comes to marketing your products or services, you can sometimes find yourself in the unfortunate position of being the target of an online sexual harassment campaign. These campaigns are typically run by individuals or companies who are trying to damage your business through negative online reviews or promotion of fraudulent products. One of the most common tactics used by cybercriminals is to use suggestive or sexually provocative text messages or social media posts. Although sexual harassment via social media and text has been a growing problem for years, recent changes in technology and the rise in accessibility of technology have made these methods much more effective.
Avoid using profanity, especially if you market to children
We know that some people are comfortable using curse words, but consider how parents would feel if they were reading those same curse words in a magazine aimed at their children. You could potentially offend your customers and lose them over an honest mistake. If you’re not sure whether you should use the word or not, ask yourself if you would use it if your audience was made up of your own family or friends. If not, then you should probably consider not using it.
Avoid using profanity in all your marketing materials, products and services
Using salty or profane language can result in a negative impression in the eyes of your customers, and can even lead to legal repercussions. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces the use of the FCC’s indecency policies on television and radio airwaves. When used in advertising, it is best to use clean, clear, direct, and honest language, especially toward children.
Do not use profanity in your website or blog
Some brands have been known to use profanity in their advertising campaigns, like Budweiser’s “Whassup?” campaign. While it might seem like a good idea to reach a younger demographic using a casual yet friendly tone, it can come off as disrespectful. If you need to use a word that is not a commonly used euphemism, make sure to use it sparingly and in context. For example, if you are referring to an item, it may not be a great idea to call it a “piece of shit”. Instead, describe it as cheaply made or poorly constructed.
If you use profanity in your ads, it can appear on search engine results pages, which will have a negative effect on your company
If you use profanity in your ads, it can appear on search engine results pages, which will have a negative effect on your company. It will also attract less attention from potential customers who might have been interested in your business if you hadn’t used profanity.
If you have a presence on social media, make sure you monitor your profiles
If you have a marketing campaign or social media presence, it can be a good idea to monitor these profiles to make sure you are not using any profanity that may be an issue for your business. You don’t want to end up with a negative review or customer interaction because you used profanity on your social media that you didn’t intend to use.
If you use social media to target children, make sure you use strong parental control features
If you use social media, be sure to set up strong parental control features on your account. This will allow you to set your account to private so only your friends can see your posts. Parents also should set up email notifications so they will be alerted if anyone they don’t know follows their children on social media.
In conclusion, if you’re looking to market without being offensive, consider your audience, your product, and your message carefully. Be aware of the potential for offense, and take steps to avoid it. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. And, if you do find yourself in hot water, apologize quickly and sincerely.