How To Flip Criticism Of Your Product On Its Head

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AWard-winning, top-performing ads provide an awful lot of inspiration for business growth, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned marketer.

Gleaning information from the very best takes quite a lot of research, but since we already planned to do this for our own purposes, we put together a four-part series breaking down what exactly made each of these highly lauded ads work.

Let’s start with one timeless commercial that smashed a stereotype of a popular company’s product…

“Hey, Mikey!”

Many people are familiar with Mikey from the Life cereal commercials. In 1966, Quaker Oats ran the “Three Brothers” commercial that featured Mikey. This commercial is now in the CLIO Hall of Fame.

Watch it here:

Why This Commercial Worked For Quaker Oats

A number of factors played into why this hit commercial became so popular and effective:

  • Quaker Oats knew their target demographic was kids. The Baby Boom was happening in the 60s and a huge percent of the population was children. So they focused on that group when designing the commercial.
  • They also knew about their target demographic’s mindset. They knew that kids tend to stay away from food that is considered healthy.
  • And they knew Life cereal was perceived as a healthy cereal that kids wouldn’t enjoy.

Instead of just giving up on their target demographic, Quaker Oats did something about it. They noted the stereotype that was dragging down their sales. They acknowledged it to the world and they built their story around that opposite idea.

What You Can Do

There are three lessons that you can learn from Quaker Oats:

  1. Do your research. Make sure you know your audience and what they’re thinking.
  2. Anticipate objections. If you do your research, you should be able to figure out what pain points you’ll have when marketing your product. If you don’t, do more research!
  3. Own the conversation. You don’t need to film a commercial to address a negative appraisal. If anyone criticizes your company on social media, it’s not the end of the world – in fact, it’s an opportunity. To do what Quaker Oats did in the case of Mikey, take control of the conversation.

    Acknowledge the criticism publicly and if it’s legitimate, take proactive steps to fix the problem. As you go along, keep the conversation public. Post about each step. In fact, you could even make a hashtag for the issue.
    By posting your updates and asking for feedback using your hashtag, you’ll be able to own the conversation.

  4. What’s Next?

    Next up, we’ll look at how one ad became famous by targeting a specific niche. If you’re not already getting our blog email broadcasts, make sure you don’t miss it this next analysis by subscribing to them in the form below!


  1. Randall Magwood

    9/10/2013 7:08 pm

    Sometimes i receive refunds from my core product, so it could only mean that some people (just a little bit of people) had issues with my product – thus requesting the refund. I used to sell a different multi-component product in a different niche at a low price, and INCREDIBLE bonuses. But still some people still refund, despite the fact that i was receiving good reviews from other customers. I’ve just learned to ignore the refunds, and focus on the core of the people who enjoyed my product.

  2. Steve D'Aquila

    9/11/2013 11:08 am

    Nice post Crystal! We have negativity in the carpet cleaning industry as well. lots of misconceptions we have to battle through. Lots of bait and switch advertising and bad work to boot. Social proof on my Facebook page and website of dust, dirt and overall funk that comes out of peoples rugs, furniture and carpet is how we deal with a lot of the questions that are asked.

  3. Steve

    9/12/2013 2:15 pm

    You will never please all the people all the time. It would be like expecting everyone that goes past a shop to go inside it and buy something. It just wont happen.
    The bottom line is to be making a living with enough spare for fun times and investment plus a bit for rainy days and the pension. Head in the clouds but feet on the ground.

  4. Barbara Woods

    9/26/2013 12:24 am

    I am thinking that the best way to avoid criticism is to avoid little white lies. But if criticism is already existing then it should be acknowledged and then emphasize the benefit of the product.

  5. Rod

    10/4/2013 11:48 pm

    It’s like when Eminem in the movie 8 mile dissed himself before his opponent could attack him and he won the rap battle.