Now, hold on one second. There will be Clooney photos. I promise. No drooling.
I ran across an image the other day on Facebook which used George Clooney to promote rescue and I thought it was interesting enough to post. Here’s what it looked like:
Now before I get started here, let me say that I don’t think Mr. Clooney had anything to do with this graphic. I know he has a rescued dog and talks about him in the press and talks about how great shelter dogs are and I’m not saying anything bad about that. I think someone grabbed a bit of photography they found and, knowing he was a rescue advocate, decided to make a graphic out of it to put on Facebook.
But here’s the thing: it’s terrible marketing. It’s straight up guilt. It’s saying, fairly blatantly, that if you don’t have a rescue dog, you’re not a good person like George Clooney is. You’re not Clooney-worthy. That’s just bad advertising and bad marketing – you don’t sell a product or an idea by telling people that they’re inadequate. It’s like Milwaukee’s Best trying to sell beer with the tag line “It’s All You Deserve”.
I posted the image on Facebook with a little blurb about what a missed opportunity it was and one person vehemently disagreed with me – so much so that she immediately unfriended me. She, like so many in rescue, believe that negative marketing works and that people can be guilted or shamed into adopting. So I made a quick little test.
I found a photo of the same subject, Mr. Clooney and added a tag line to it that was positive and warm. Here’s what I came up with – please excuse the crude execution as I was working quickly in order to make my point. I know that it’s not a terribly scientific test, but the results were quite dramatic.
More warm, more fuzzy. Kinda makes you want to be that famous movie actor with his dog on his lap and a drink in his hand, just chilling with his best friend.
The first image which used guilt and shame to motivate got 11 “likes” and was shared by 5 people (and had an hour head start).
The second image which used positive language, warm fuzzies, and general cuteness to motivate got 645 “likes” and 281 shares as of this writing.
Still think negative messaging works?