Initially, I was willing to dismiss the Crossfit “Cheat on your girlfriend” advertisement as a blundering Reebok faux pas, but this advertisement coming directly from Crossfit HQ leaves me speechless.
Perhaps that’s their marketing intent: shock and disgust creating virality of the advertisement, attacks by critics, apologizes from advocates, and high profile exposure of the discussions which ensure.
But does the end (marketing success) justify the means (abusive immorality, like the D&G “rape” ads)?
Is this really the type of ad we want in our industry: a stripper pulling wagons of children sick, puking, dead, or on dialysis? Disgustingly unbelievable. Even if for a fundraiser, would the funds raised justify the message used? Some argue that if it causes enough controversy then it will stimulate more funds, but this was given to me by a Crossfit box owner who refuses to support HQ or the benefit due to the tasteless delivery. One staunch defender said, “even if it’s tasteless, disgusting or immoral, if it serves its purpose, isn’t that all that matters?”
The highest trafficked message I’ve published on Facebook, had over 1,000 shares, and reached 3 million readers. It’s message: “You wouldn’t cheat on family. Don’t cheat on you.”
On this advertisement, as a professional who has been involved with marketing for twenty years, wouldn’t it be far more effective to release something along the lines of:
Sweat for Tears: The Harder We Work Together - The Greater Hope They Have!
Powerful, tasteful messages can be crafted. Means do not justify the ends.
I love what I see in the community which has surrounded Crossfit, but I increasingly see an unhealthy, if not corrosively toxic, messages coming from the Crossfit corporation itself.
To my Crossfit friends, you don’t have to accept the bad with the good. Your community dictates the company direction, and you “vote” with your patronage. Insist that corporate uphold the values you believe in as a community, and they will concede to the strength of your virtue.