Can you really take a negative and turn it into a selling point for your company? Claire Baldwin takes a look at some examples of intelligent and reactive marketing that have done just that.

It’s often said that all publicity is good publicity; even if people are saying bad things, at least they’re actually talking about you.

While this might not be the case in extreme situations, being relevant and in the public eye can give your brand real mileage. It might be preferable to be notorious than forgotten.

The cleverest marketers are able to ride the momentum of negative publicity and turn it into something positive. By reacting quickly to the influx of attention, you’re able to place something worthwhile in the spotlight while the media and public are still paying attention.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of creative marketing that turned negatives into positives.


Over the years, fast food chain KFC has received a lot of criticism over its fries, which many customers feel don’t stand up to the quality of their chicken, or to fries from other fast food chains.

As with most subjects, turning to Twitter yields a variety of negative comments:

“Dear KFC, No one likes your fries. Yours sincerely, The entire world.”

“I’ve got to say, KFC are riding solely on their chicken because Christ, those are crap fries.”

“how can KFC be so good at chicken and so bad at fries?”

Along with creative agency Mother, KFC took this criticism and turned it into teaser posters promoting a new fry recipe. The ads took these direct quotes and even included the authors’ Twitter handles, showing the world that they listen to and value feedback.

By taking a product that was poorly received and improving it, the ‘Ain’t No Small Fry’ campaign aimed to convert their fry-haters into fry-lovers. This approach had the benefit of bringing old customers back through the doors to try the new version, while giving those who still regularly eat at KFC something new and exciting.


I might be showing my age a little here, but when I was a child my mother seemed to be constantly dabbing TCP on my various cuts, grazes, spots and sores. I have very vivid memories of this because TCP absolutely stinks. And if you’ve had the misfortune of using it for toothache then you’ll know it tastes disgusting as well.

Of course, I learned that, like broccoli, it tastes bad because it’s good for you. The stuff works. It’s just terribly unpleasant.

Which is why I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this advert for TCP with the strapline “Tastes as foul today as it always has.”

How often have you read reviews online where customers complain that a new formula of something doesn’t work as well as the old one? From lipstick to chocolate, reviews are riddled with ‘improvements’ that have backfired due to a company’s need to cut costs or improve a product’s nutrition.

This ad reassures existing TCP customers that the pungent brown antiseptic is still just as gross as ever, meaning it’s just as effective. It also sparks curiosity in those who aren’t familiar with the product and might wonder why on earth you’d put that on your own advert.

Creative marketing with DWH

It can be difficult to see your own products and services from a new angle, but DWH are here to find the individuality in everything you do. Together, we can embrace all aspects of your business and promote them in the best light.

Contact us today and let us know how we can help.

We are also pleased to announce we have been recognised by DesignRush in their list of Top Branding Agencies in 2019. You can check out the full list here.