Bad British humor – health related advertising “alienates” its target market

Those darn Brits. These days THEY don’t even get their own humor. In an article posted by the Evening Post, a health club in the UK designed and posted a campaign using aliens to drive people into their gym. The message on the billboard that is the center of attention has a big green alien on the side and reads:

Advanced Health Warning: When the aliens come they will eat the fatties first.

Unfortunately the copywriters involved in the campaign don’t know much about healthcare marketing. The sign was offensive to many, regardless of the tongue and cheek tone that was intended by the client. Individuals interviewed for the article responded with shock and repulse to the advertisement describing it as “offensive,” “tacky,” “patronizing” and “unfortunate.”

People participate in health programs because they are motivated to make healthy decisions, not because they are scared. We have seen that scare tactics rarely work in a world where “it won’t happen to me.” And if your audience, like the health club’s, is people who have just put on a few extra pounds during the holiday season, calling them “fatties” will only (excuse the pun) alienate them.

So the advertising sucked. But I want to give credit to the reporter who included one of the most, um, interesting quotes I have recently seen:

“The people who came up with this idea and sanctioned the advert need a good stiff kick up the backside, and if that backside is a rather bony one, then they will feel this all the more.”

Will this eloquent journalism save the newspaper industry? One can only hope.

46 Responses to “Bad British humor – health related advertising “alienates” its target market”

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