When Negative Reviews Make For Clever Marketing Opportunities

According to the old saying, there’s no such thing as bad press. I’m certain that there are a few brands that would beg to differ, but it is true that you can use the poor press as an opportunity to spread some positive publicity. In fact, here are three instances where a brand or individual used some poor press as an opportunity to bring in new business.

Joe Dough Sandwich Shop – Instagram user luxuryprgal took the photo of Joe Dough’s clever response to a negative Yelp review.

What makes it so great? Plenty of restaurants and businesses have fought tooth and nail against negative reviews that have cropped up on sites like Yelp. Instead of taking to the online space, Joe Dough used the review as an opportunity to bring in the local crowd, inviting them to try it for themselves. The hyperbole of the review helps attract potential customers, and the photo of the sign has brought even more attention to Joe Dough online.

Pizzeria Delfina – Much like Joe Dough, Pizzeria Delfina used a negative Yelp review to create a clever piece of clothing.

They decided to embrace the absurd negativity by emblazoning the review across a T-shirt, complete with the reviewer’s name and the 1-star rating. The T-shirts were embraced by the staff and worn with pride, even the reviews that were as offensive as they were negative. The response perfectly embodied the pizzeria’s attitude and brought them even more (positive) attention.

Marco Arment’s 1-star mug – Arment, the creator of Instapaper, took inspiration from some less-than-kind reviews of the app and crafted this clever, tongue-in-cheek mug.

Not only did it help Arment let off a little steam, it also proved to be attention-getting and profitable. The first day it was available, Arment received over 100 orders for the mug. Zazzle, however, was quick to cancel the orders, alleging supposed copyright infringement. After a public battle with Zazzle, the site allowed Arment to continue selling it, and Arment found an even larger potential audience.

What other brands have taken bad publicity and turned it into a clever marketing technique? Share them with us in the comments below.