Campaign Controversy vs a Diluted Message

Controversial ad campaign and why you shouldn’t dilute your brand

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the new Jack Wils ad campaign we decided to take a look at some of the other most talked about campaigns of the last 12 months and whether the brands were right to provoke such a reaction from the masses.

Jack Wills
Jack Wills most recent ad campaign has been accused of over-sexualisation whilst targeting young teenagers. The images appear to depict a rather flirtatious and hedonistic lifestyle which some audiences said were not suitable for young teenagers. The brand insists that they target 18-22 year olds and did reiterate that none of the models used were under that age. The brand however did make visual references to the lifestyles of their stated target market and although controversial, the references are correct and do connect with their ideals.


Calvin Klein
Where do we start with Calvin Klein? There have been too many controversial ad campaigns over the years to count on one hand. They’ve been accused of over-sexualisation, sexism and promoting violence. However, the strength of the brand is undeniable therefore that notion in itself speaks volumes.

calvins campaigns

Protein World
Protein World received a huge backlash to a tube ad poster that stated “Are you beach body ready?” with people writing their opinions and responses not only on Twitter but also on the posters themselves. The Protein World audience take pride in their appearance therefore this message resonates with them……and I wholeheartedly agree with their responses to the commentators on Twitter. If you’re not drawn in by their brand and positioning, just don’t buy their products and don’t try to victimise yourself just because you don’t have the same outlook as the ad clearly wasn’t aimed at you.

protein world

Audiences that do not understand marketing and advertising are oblivious to the fact that they are actually amplifying the success of the campaign by commentating exclaiming their disapproval. As the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity and i’m pretty sure that the marketing teams in charge of the campaigns were banking on the exact reaction that audiences gave them.

The lessons that all advertising and marketing creatives can learn from these brands is to just go for it, do not dilute your brand and the message. Making a strong connection with your market versus a watered down message just to please the opinionated masses is the difference between great and mediocre sales. It can be the difference between and strong and weak season. Be true to your brand and amplify the connection with your market.

If you’ve