Not a bag for life? I don't get it...

I was on the train into London on Friday morning and noticed a chap with a plastic carrier bag. It was a festive plastic bag - snow scene of graphic style village - we've all seen festive plastic bags before, so no surprises there. The main brand was Phones 4 U - and then the tag line was .... A bag for xmas not for life!  plastic bag dump As soon as I saw this my immediate response was one of 'questionning' - so I had a little think about it - was there a clever little message in there that I was missing? Bag for Xmas - not for life...? Hmmm.... But no - I quickly ascertained that this ridiculous posturing is just really poor marketing.

Questions to the Phones 4 U marketing team - where did that idea come from and what possible positive brand associations were you looking to achieve?

Was it really as ridiculous as someone saying - "hey, there are so many bags for life out there messages - let's look 'edgy' and different by clearly stating that our bags are just for Christmas?" - oh dear.

Message for the Phones 4 U marketing team - it's totally put me off your brand, irresponsible message, ridiculous and trying too hard. If there was any purpose - then I'm missing it. It's just left me with negative brand associations for you guys... the bags looked great - you just should have left the message off them.

I was totally impartial to your brand before - no negative associations at all - so no reason why I wouldn't have wondered into your store. Now I have some emotional response with your brand - but it's not positive. That's not great marketing is it. Or perhaps that was the intention - targeting those that find recycling and efforts to reduce wastage 'dull' and futile? Who knows.

It just goes to show the power of words. A real example as to how businesses and brands need to be careful of what they say - trying to be 'edgy' or even attempting dry humour can often be misconstrued and set the brand on the road to negative associations.

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Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative - a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing - covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.

MarketingMichelle Carvill