Downright Scary Commercials...and What Your Credit Union Marketing Can Learn from Them

Sean Galli
Downright Scary Commercials...and What Your Credit Union Marketing Can Learn from Them

Halloween is still 26 days away, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to talk about scary stuff. Just ask elementary school aged kids – they’ll tell you Halloween is the whole point of October. And major retailers brought out the Halloween goods in mid-September.

Halloween is a fun time for marketers too, but not every marketing piece is scary in a good way. And you certainly don’t need a Halloween theme to make consumers flee your business as fast as possible.

Let’s look at three bad commercials and discover the lessons they hold for your bank or credit union marketing.

1. Burger King’s Moldy Whopper

In this piece, Burger King shows the viewer a beautiful Whopper…at first. The Whopper slowly decays throughout the commercial, growing mold and turning green, before showing you the sequence was a 34-day time lapse. The slogan, “The Beauty of No Artificial Preservatives,” concludes the video.

The original intention behind this commercial was good. Burger King wanted to show consumers their product was fresher than competitors’ burgers. But it completely backfired.

It turns out showing your product in a disgusting light doesn’t equate to sales.

Lesson: Don’t create bank or credit union marketing off-putting to consumers. You probably won’t have moldy food in your collaterals, but you could have open relationships or employees as surrogate mothers for members (both found in real credit union commercials).

Run your videos by multiple people to make sure they have the desired effect. Ensure your bank or credit union marketing pieces don’t weird out consumers.

2. Finger-Lickin’ Bad

Like the Burger King video, this KFC commercial is kind of gross. People lick their own fingers and others’ fingers after eating fried chicken. But the real marketing sin here is the timing of the commercial.

KFC released the video in March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spurred lockdowns and increased awareness of hygienic practices. The company quickly pulled the commercial, but many consumers had already watched the tone-deaf marketing piece.

Lesson: Be aware of your surroundings and change course with your bank or credit union marketing if necessary. And don’t advertise products if they can’t solve consumers’ current problems. For example, vacation loans and recreational vehicle loans aren’t the best things to market during difficult economic times.

3. Taste the…Trick or Treaters?

This Skittles commercial has a Halloween theme, but that doesn’t save it from being scary bad. In the video, a giant spider traps a boy in his web using the tempting power of Skittles. Another boy shows up, and the spider discusses how he befriended the boy and helped him get Skittles.

But plot twist…the spider confesses at the end he actually ate both children, laughing maniacally as “taste the rainbow” pops up! It’s a bizarre watch. And it does a poor job portraying Skittles as safe and fun.

Lesson: Your bank or credit union marketing must avoid appearing dangerous or legitimately scary. What does a “dangerous” commercial look like for you? Maybe something showing destitution or hefty financial loss as a result of not banking with you.

There’s a place for showing consumers what happens without you. But go too far and you risk leaving a bad taste in consumers’ mouths.

Is your bank or credit union marketing scaring consumers? Would you be able to tell if it was? Bringing in an outside party to assess your marketing can help identify pain points and provide solutions to immediately address them. Book a free consultation with On The Mark Strategies today and start your marketing assessment.

Sean Galli
Marketing Coordinator