Is Bad Publicity Really Better Than None?

Self marketing: Does the end justifies the means?


Self marketing and publicity: Bad Publicity

Is bad publicity really better than none? Some even believe that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Hm, so what? What is the thought behind the proverb? Oscar Wilde expressed it that way: The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. Is it true or only a cliché? There is at least one reason to say yes: “Yes! If you like risks!”






In short, the mind tends us to recall events that occur frequently and recently. That’s the reason why advertisers spend millions of Euros bombarding us with slogans. Experiments have shown it is a good investment. We are more likely to buy a particular product if we can recall it easily. Likewise, one reason why popular music charts feature all-time favorites is because they contain an excessive amount of modern songs and people remember them more easily.




Familiar faces


Therefore, bad publicity is better than none? One idea of this theory is that we may believe people and their ideas whom we see more frequently than those we seldom see. The out of sight, out of mind concept works here. But be careful to integrate that in your self-marketing strategy without considering your branch and target group.




Intelligent or stupid publicity?


There are different kinds of bad publicity. Some are back-breaking for your reputation. It seems to be easier for someone seeking notoriety and somewhat scandalous reputation. But nowadays it becomes even harder for them to be seen when so many people are willing to be seen as idiots – only to get a few seconds of fame.

So it depends on our target group, what is allowed and what isn’t. And some groups have a better memory and prefer good publicity.

Switch on the TV and you can see how many people want to be famous, no matter what and how. Do you want to see yourself that way? Do you really think the end justifies the means?




Established or unknown


A crucial factor is how familiar a brand or product or another entity was before the negative publicity. It seems that the risks are higher for established brands and the chances are higher for the unknown. Big brands can be harmed by bad news. One reason is that, for lesser-known brands, negative perceptions fade more quickly in consumers’ minds than their general awareness of the product. With established brands, on the other hand, the whiff of bad publicity lingers longer. The unknown offer typically hasn’t so much to loose. There is a higher probability that nearly all publicity is good publicity – if no one has ever heard of you.




What do you think?


Can negative publicity actually have a positive effect? And if so, when?