Posted by Abe Sauer on March 17, 2010 07:53 AM
From lead-tainted toys and poisoned milk products to deadly dog food, the reputation of quality control standards for the "Made in China" brand has taken a severe beating.
Now, one brand is exploiting the brand's sullied image by making the panic over "China-made" into the pillar of its brand-building strategy; but is it too much?
Opurity vitamin ads are turning up on various blogs across the web. The first I saw was on a right-wing political blog. It probably would not have stood out except that the ad featuring a horrifying image of a factory spewing thick pollution into the sky with the eye-popping copy "Don't trust your health to China... Warning: Multivitamin companies entrust your health to vitamin ingredients made in China. Do you?..."
Launched in February, vitamin brand Opurity's overall messaging is not any less dramatic than its ads: "China Free Multivitamin Choice" [sic]. Opurity is based in Virginia and positions itself with an alarming tone, warnings and, frequently, CAPS LOCK. The brand's ads link to a site that rattles off statistics that implies the danger of Chinese-made drugs is... CHINA! The site hosts a China-Free™ Blog and a section titled "China Quality Problems in the News," among others.
It is possible that Opurity's positioning will appeal to already paranoid consumers. However, the punch-in-the-face volume and fear-mongering core of Opurity's positioning probably does the brand a serious disfavor.
Its histrionic positioning will likely lead to diminishing returns and end up exhausting more rational consumers. However, any success the brand has will immediately be in danger of irrelevancy, because Opurity forgets to focus on the benefits of its product, defining itself only through the failings of others. Furthermore, its brand could easily be duplicated.
A more interesting question is whether or not this positioning might catch on in other sectors. If economic woes continue, will pinched brands employ the fear factor to make themselves more attractive?