Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Are Letter-Style Print Ads an Effective Way to Defend Your Brand in a Crisis?

Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Are Letter-Style Print Ads an Effective Way to Defend Your Brand in a Crisis?

Article excerpt

HSBC, beset by criticism in the US, has issued a print ad intended to reassure UK customers.

YES - Natalie Cowen, Head of marketing, East Coast Mainline Company

In a crisis situation, customers want to know the facts, and that the organisation is taking the problem seriously. A full-page ad in the national papers, with the tone of voice these ads use, achieves this.

There tends to be plenty of news-coverage of such crises, and these ads allow organisations to get their point of view across.

Consumers want to know what the company thinks of the situation and how it is going to react to it. However, it's not enough to use only traditional channels - these messages need to be used across all channels, especially social media, where a lot of the relevant chatter is likely to be taking place.

MAYBE - Jeremy Ellis, Marketing director, TUI UK

Letter-style advertising is probably the only way to convey a relatively complex message in a concise way. Because the creative looks official, the brand is saying 'we've got something important to say', so it can be an effective way to get the consumer to read a long message.

The challenge is, therefore, to get the content right, and make your point effectively. There are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for.

First, these letters tend to address a serious and most likely negative issue, so the ad is heightening awareness of the problem.

Second, letters can be boring to read and turn people off before the most important or positive message has been digested. …

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