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  • Writer's pictureLeo

Antagonistic Marketing: Playing Dirty

Antagonistic Marketing is something you don't hear about, at least not in polite company. In fact, you can work in marketing for decades and never hear the term. But even if you haven't, you likely know the sentiment: playing dirty.

Marketing campaigns can certainly be compared to chess in the sense that it is about anticipating your competition's decisions and providing a good defense and offense in preparation. Using that analogy, Antagonistic Marketing is like sacrificing your own weaker piece in order to eliminate a stronger opponent piece.

And it comes down to demographics: Let's say a sneaker company has a large number of Argentinian buyers (Argentina pop. 44 million), and comparably few British buyers (pop 66 million). And let's say the Argentinian market starts to falter in favor of a solution would be Antagonistic Marketing.

Let's imagine a scenario where this sneaker company posts an advert for the World Cup claiming "Las Malvinas son Argentinas." This would suggest Argentina is the rightful owner of the Falkland Islands,not Britain. Brits would be furious and boycott the shoes, but Argies who have been leaving the brand would double down and become lifelong buyers. The whole controversy would appear accidental, like a gaffe...but it wasn't.

It can also be leveled AT competition. In this day and age, planted protest groups accusing a company of all manner of moral outrage is commonplace. The best solution? Look at your company's weak points and prepare for some mudslinging. Antagonistic Marketing is surging in popularity, and the best defense is, in this case, not a good offense.

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