Maybe it's just me, but negative advertising is a real turn-off. (On second thought, maybe it's not just me. One only needs to look at the tail-end of the most recent presidential election campaign as an example of exactly how many of us were turned off by negativity.) And really, if there's anything we need a little less of during these Depression-era days of free-falling Dows and skyrocketing unemployment rates, it's negativity.
The advertising campaign of which I speak is of Dunkin' Donuts, which is my breakfast provider of choice. As regular readers of The B&B Chronicles know, I have a hell of a commute to work. (1.5 hours each way, on a good day.) I also have a pesky thyroid, which means that upon waking and taking my lovely thyroid meds, I need to wait an hour before eating. So, I get in the car sometime between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m., and by the time I'm within five minutes of my office, 90 minutes has passed and I'm driving by a Dunkin' Donuts ... where I stop, every morning, for a Combo #6. That would be a Veggie Egg White Flatbread (for my cholesterol levels), a large French Vanilla coffee with skim and Splenda, and hash browns (because I'm ravenous at that point and need to eat something, anything.)
The drive-thru cashier and I are on a first-name basis - she greeting me every morning with "Hey, Lady!" She's a very pleasant person, very quick, always accurate with my order and even slips in some innocuous chit chat about the weather, a necklace I'm wearing, whatever.
During the last few days, my Drive-Thru Lady has been MIA. At the same time, I noticed that the other workers have sported brown, pink and orange shirts emblazoned with DunkinBeatStarbucks.com on the back. I'd heard of the blind taste test where more people chose DD over SB, so I didn't think much of it. Till this morning.
I pull up to the drive through and place my order. A minute goes by. Three. Then five more. Then 10. I finally pull up to the window and the cashier - not Drive Thru Lady - slides open the window, hand extended for my cash. Another two or three minutes goes by before my food arrives. They apologize. I say it's fine. (I've learned, in my old age, that it is pointless to go nuts over this stuff. Life's too short.)
And then, I notice that the substitute drive-thru lady's shirt has Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks on the front of it. Now, I happen to patronize Starbucks, too. (Betty and Boo's Mommy needs her coffee.) Whatever, I thought, just grateful to have my breakfast before I started gnawing on my steering wheel.
I bite into my hash browns - they're lukewarm. I take a sip of my coffee and something - the French Vanilla or the Splenda - was amiss. And then, I'm at my desk and I unwrap my Veggie Egg White and it is cold, unheated, not the toasty flatbread as pictured. I promptly threw it away and grabbed a handful of M&Ms.
And then I thought back to the DunkinBeatStarbucks.com and the Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks marketing campaign, and I realized why that campaign was resonating flatter than a piece of flatbread with me. I think it really does have something to do with the negative climate in general lately. I mean, we're talking coffee ... I don't know about you, but I'm usually reaching for my Dunkin' Donuts coffee when I've got maximum stress going on. I've travelled through two states, I'm late for work, I need my second tank of gas in a week (and it's Tuesday). I don't need nor do I want any additional negative vibes when I'm trying to de-compress with my coffee (yes, I know, I'm one of those weird wolves that caffeine can either hype up or calm down, depending on the need. And you wonder why I'm addicted.)
So here's what I, Little Miss Public Relations, say about negative advertising. If you're going to go negative, Dunkin', then you better make damn sure that you can live up to the mirage of superiority. Because if you're going to make the claim that Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks, then there's no room for you to screw up my coffee. There's no room for error; it needs to be right 110% of the time. (As Boo said tonight, "Nothing can be right 110% of the time." My point.)
Because even though I may be Friends with my Dunkin' Donuts pals, I would have loved for them to have given me a Starbucks today.