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Tips for Marketing Controversial ProductsControversial products can stir up attention with little difficulty, but marketing them in the best light for business can be a struggle. Many companies have found it difficult to market controversial products, and some have found that their chosen tactics have backfired and resulted in a failed venture.Follow these steps and discover the tactics you can utilize to sell your potentially controversial product.

Make a Plan

A business plan is important for any marketing strategy, but especially so for those looking to market a controversial product or service. Knowing your company’s ideals, values, and goals is essential to creating a thriving business. Putting in the necessary time and work before beginning your marketing strategy could mean the difference between a botched campaign and a profitable product. You need to set specific objectives, and follow these closely throughout your marketing campaign. Look for companies who may help cross-promote you, or find publishers that are open to honestly reviewing your product so that you have support before the real work begins.

Controversial Product, Not Controversial Marketing

For some controversial products or services, an equally eye-catching and, in some circles, “offensive” marketing campaign can pay off. However, not all controversial products are created the same. Maybe your product can be easily made fun of and seen as the perfect gag gift, meaning humor should be a large part of your strategy. Adversely, perhaps your product needs to be advertised with a “responsible usage” claim, meaning a serious tone would be more applicable.

Understand the tone needed, and go with it, as it could make or break your campaign. One controversial Hyundai ad was pulled after it made light of suicide, showing the campaign went too far to be acceptable for the general public. Making a joke of something people deem dangerous or inappropriate may not help your case, and remaining too serious with a product that should inspire laughs could end your business. It’s a delicate balance, and it’s essential that you master it.

Know Your Competitor

It’s likely your product has some competitors. Know them, understand their business, their target audience, and what you can offer that they don’t. Learn from marketing mistakes they may have already made, and produce a product that does what they do better. At the same time, look at the marketing strategies that worked for them, and borrow the most useful tactics.


Celebrity endorsement can be a helpful tool to market your controversial item. You may even need to delve into an industry to find the perfect spokesperson. One exampleis found in the marketing techniques of electronic cigarette company NJOY. They catered to their dedicated audience by creating an Artist’s Collection of NJOY e cig juice with five leading vape industry artists. This expanded their brand awareness within the already active vaping community, and created a product unique to the company.

Target Audience

Do research on your target market, and know your customers before you begin the marketing process. You don’t want to risk alienating a group who might have been your biggest buyer. Another majorcomponent of targeting your audience: know how you’re going to reach them. Depending on the product and type of market you’re striving to reach, there may be channels you simply can’t advertise your item on. Understanding the rules regarding your product, including those put in place by television, print, social media, or even stores can help you avoid wasting lucrative time and money. Disregarded regulations can result in high fines, which is something no starting business wants or needs.

Expert Knowledge, Expert Rebuttals

If you’re selling a controversial item, you’re going to run into those who hate it. Expect it and accept it. You’ll no doubt run into naysayers that try to use every argument in the book against your product for whatever reason, but you can prepare yourself to refute any false claims. Know your product, know its uses, and be prepared to defend it to those who seek to thwart your sales. You should have all information available to consumers. This complete transparency may help your product find its niche and avoid any potential legal issues.

Understanding your product and audience will help you form a marketing campaign that will most effectively sell your controversial item. Be prepared for adversaries, but arm yourself with the knowledge that your item serves a purpose and can find a dedicated audience.



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