Being Edgy Is a Double-Edged Sword

The ad community loves offbeat and edgy commercials. And so do young men. (Just ask the makers of Axe.)

But taking the risqué route is a risky choice for mass-market products, as Burger King and Hardee’s are discovering.

USA Today reported this week that franchisees of both brands want to tone down raunchy and irreverent ads like this one (above) due to flagging sales and complaints from customers.

As one consultant comments in the article: “This is hardly the time you want to alienate any potential customer.”

Sure that sounds logical. But it could be entirely wrong too, if both marketers are genuinely committed to wooing young males. By dulling their edge, both brands could end up appealing to no one at all.

It’s a tough choice, especially for BK which has invested so much in the King. If I were a franchisee, I would be careful about what I wished for.