It's kind to be cruel, so long as it's self-directed.
At least, that's the marketing lesson of the summer as companies flood the channels with self-effacing spots. Why would a company knock itself? Well, apparently it's one way to shatter a negative perception.
In its latest ads, McDonald's
Read: "We've been marking down fatty, fried junk food to a buck just to move it, but now we've got something really good for you."
Earlier this summer, Wal-Mart
For the latest in promotional self-flagellation thank Taco Bell. The Yum! Brands
Taco Bell has been giving folks free gas for years? Of course. That's the point. It's the brash below-the-belt kind of marketing that endears the viewer to the company by spinning its shortcomings.
In a flagging economy, consumers root for the underdog. The flamboyant days of Pizza Hut rockets and E-Trade
Have you noticed the trend in self-effacing marketing? Do you think it's a passing fancy or will the marketing modesty become a permanent fixture? All this and more -- in the The Motley Fool Take Discussion Board. Only on Fool.com.