Recorded 28 September 2017
As marketers, are we more concerned with saving face or saving lives? In 2016, the Canadian Yukon government retracted their “We All Need the [vitamin] D” public service campaign due to an embarrassing, unintended reference to male genitalia. Unfortunately, their scramble to save face may have put a stop to one of the most successful public campaigns in years, showing more concern for their image than results. And they’re not alone: marketers often shy away from controversial creative to protect their reputation. But what if this campaign decried smoking or drunk driving: would saving face still outweigh saving lives? For cause-based marketers especially, the stakes are high, as these decisions could end up hurting the very populations they’re trying to help. It’s time we understand the true cost of “playing it safe” and ask ourselves: is it worth it?
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Presenter/David Lazarenko, with nearly 20 years of marketing experience, has led successful sales and corporate responsibility campaigns for some of North America’s largest organizations. As president at Think Shift, he has challenged clients to push the envelope to further their cause, and experienced firsthand the frustration of seeing agencies choose reputation over results.