I’m constantly amazed by the disconnect I see between marketing campaigns, messaging and packaging (or the final delivery of the message). Companies spend millions on branding, strategy, research, product development, packaging and finally on promotion (PR, advertising and social media outreach) to represent their brand and command attention from consumers. However, marketers that don’t take a step back to examine the final results of their work can let brand inconsistencies slip through – ultimately effecting the messaging they so desperately were striving for.

Over the years, I’ve collected countless examples and experiences of “marketing disconnects,” mistakes and slip-ups that have seemingly gone unnoticed. Some are pretty funny, and some are scary. Maybe it’s just me, but I find each one of these to be a lesson and reality check that we should reflect on for our own business and make sure that we don’t make these mistakes when working on our clients’ campaigns.

One such story that I’ve been holding onto for a while is that of this Lush shaving cream container. I purchased this product while window shopping in Carmel by the Sea last year and I have been doing my own product comparison testing (that is a different story).

Notice anything? The product states that “Five O’ Clock Shadow is so passé.” The obvious message they are conveying   is that clean shaving is IN and the grubby look is OUT.  The basic key to clever consumer marketing is to create an emotional connection between the product and the audience.  The concept of “passé” tells me that this in-the-know, hip, trend-watching cosmetic company is the authority on taste, style and fashion – so a clean face is the rule for the guys.



But take a look at the picture of the product maker (below) they included on the container:

Anyway, since when is 5 o’clock shadow “passé”?

So I’m being told that scruff is out by someone who has the exact same look the product denounces?   There is another thing going on here that should be a positive communication point – but backfires.  You see, Lush wants to show that they have a hand-made or employee- sense-of-pride side to them and that their company is not too big to be personal. (Hence the head shot of the product representative, maker, packer, cosmetic chemist, or even principle of the company).  It was probably someone in marketing who said, “hey let’s put a sticker on each container to show that there is this personal touch!”  Well somewhere along the way the departments did not meet to discuss what products they were actually going to apply this too.  To me the guy in the cap and hipster glasses says, “ hey I don’t care what we sell and I don’t even believe in this product!… I am too cool for this marketing mumbo-jumbo…”

David Schlocker