Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Holy Controversial Marketing, Batman

It’s true. Any brand that does anything “good” will get letters. Some good, some bad. In fact, I’m betting that any company that incorporates something charitable or “green” will get more hate mail than a campaign that just sells stuff. And the letters will be from people who believe that doing good is important. Something like, “Sure you’re doing something, but you should be doing a dozen MORE things too! You’re lame!”

Doing good invites controversy. It invites participation. It invites letters. Which is really scary for some companies.

Not for Credo Mobile, apparently. They’re political. They’re controversial. They’re more clear in their beliefs than most presidential candidates.

They’re even running a banner ad that says, “We’ll help you support Planned Parenthood if you want.” Now that’s a gutsy brand. (Perhaps too gutsy?)

Essentially Credo says, sign up with us, and we’ll make a donation of your bill to the cause of your choice. (And they have a heavily liberal bent.)

I’m not suggesting every brand can get away with this. (Maybe not even Credo.) But every brand can learn to have a little courage to declare they believe in something. And watch like-minded consumers line up to buy.

It’s the new brand landscape. Much of the control is now in the hands of the consumers. The quicker a company understands that, and is okay with engaging in the dialogue, the better off it will be. The more stuff it will be able to do. Fear of letters can paralyze a brand. Being okay with a dialogue can liberate it.

(The ads are running in Good Magazine and on the Good site. In case you're interested, here's Credo Mobile's site.) I'm reading: Holy Controversial Marketing, BatmanTweet this!


  1. I've been a Credo long distance customer for years - they used to be known as Working Assets. And I'm a customer of theirs precisely because of the stance they take. If they had the iPhone, they'd have my cell phone business as well.

    Credo also has a spot on their bills where you can "round up" your payment to the nearest dollar or five dollars – that extra money is used to increase the donations they make.

    Very cool company. I wouldn't be surprised to see a conservative counterpart (besides AT&T).

  2. Hi David, thanks for posting this. I like the CREDO philosophy and I wanted to switch from AT&T. I looked into it and found 2 barriers: 1) it's more expensive and 2) CREDO is a mobile virtual network operator, they buy bulk bandwidth from and run their network through Sprint (which, politically, isn't much different than AT&T). So I decided to pass. Currently, I'm waiting for the WiMax enabled iPod Touch.