How distasteful ads and spokespersons can damage your brand

In March, Harris Interactive conducted a few polls to find out exactly why or why not Americans chose to buy certain brands and products. Remarkable finding: roughly 28% of Americans refuse a certain brand due to the spokesperson.

22% have considered it but have not refused the brand due to this and the other 50% have never considered it. Interestingly enough, one-third, roughly 35% will not purchase a specific brand due to an advertisement that is distasteful. It again shows how each single perception matters in brand perception.

Why people choose not to purchase certain brands
Why people choose not to purchase certain brands

The role of education and income

Education plays a big role in who refuses certain brands and products for various reasons. 43% of college graduates chose to refuse a brand due to distasteful advertisements versus only 29% of people with a high school education or below.

The statistics regarding people that have refused a brand due to the spokesperson is 33% within college graduates and only 23% from those that have a high school education or below.

Income also plays a factor. The more money you make, the easier refusing a brand may be, as you can more easily afford the alternatives.

That being said, only 25% have refused a brand for the above-mentioned reasons, in which they make $50,000 or less household annual income. This figure is 28% for those making between $50k and $74,999. Then it jumps to 33% for those making over $75k.

Spokespersons, influencers and value

This consumer fallout often has nothing to do with the product itself or the brand. It is part of an advertising scheme that businesses have to analyze very carefully and they have to realize that not everyone is going to fully support every aspect of their marketing according to Harris Interactive.

However, the key is to maximize your customer base. This can be difficult when you have a long-time face of the company or a spokesperson that gets tied up in some public scandal. Tiger Woods is a prime example of this currently with Nike, Harris Interactive says.

The advertiser then has a tough decision as to whether they want to stick by their past longtime representative or if the heat will just be too strong.

They can’t risk their whole customer base running for the hills, so the decision takes a bit of analysis and still, people’s reactions are sometimes unpredictable.

Conclusion: spokespersons, often influencers, can have a damaging impact on your brand and, regarding ads, you can see that it’s again a sign that marketers should focus on value for the people they want to reach and engage, instead of on (distasteful) ads.