Headlines that Backfire

Why isn’t your dog sleeping on an Orvis memory foam bed?

reads the headline in the email subject line this morning. The text in the image in the email itself goes on to say, “Giving your dog a memory foam bed makes you feel good inside. And sleeping on a memory foam bed makes your dog feel good all over. … every dog benefits from the perfect support and unparalleled comfort of memory foam.”

Please!! (multisyllabic….)

Memory foam beds start at $300. I spend $400, give or take, per head per year to feed and care for five dogs and two cats. Orvis thinks I should be spending an entire YEAR’s support on a bed? Has Orvis ever been to a thrift shop and seen how many couches can be purchased with $300? A LOT. Without any shopping at all, at least 10. I could get a new-to-us couch almost every month for that much money.

My dogs have clearly voted. They prefer to sleep “up”–on the couch or bed, depending on what we allow, or “under,” in the cave created by the bed or corner table. They’ll argue and whine to get the best positions.

Orvis products are marketed as being of “better” quality. We purchased collars from Orvis a few years ago. The boys chewed each other’s off pretty quickly, although they left their sister’s collar alone (and hers faded from pink to dingy pretty quickly). In other words, they weren’t high quality for the variables that mattered to me.

The company markets to my own, human-centric, sense of quality, which is remarkably different from my pragmatic understanding of my dogs’ habits and preferences. Why would I spend $300 on a foam bed when I’ve seen what this pack can do to a foam teddy bear?

The larger conclusion, with regard to marketing: when you write a headline, make sure it doesn’t inspire a “because I’m not stupid!” response!

Saw another headline that backfired in my email box:

You have to make up your mind today!

No, I don’t.  Rather, I made up my mind last week.  The fact that your offer ends today is not affecting that decision at all…

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