It’s counterintuitive that one could make money by talking up the lousy flavor of a product, but for a few bold merchants it seems to be working. DailyFinance documented the success of just such a marketing philosophy, as aggressively embraced by Canadian cough syrup company Buckley’s: “In a series of ads, company owner Frank Buckley touted the truly terrible flavor of the syrup, noting that it was ‘Not new. Not improved,’ ‘Feared by more people than ever before,’ and ‘People swear by it. And at it.'”
The campaign was by all accounts a huge success: advertising awards galore, and a 10 percent kick to Buckley’s Canadian sales.
Buckley’s, which comes in a range of appalling varieties (“including camphor, pine needle oil, and tincture of capsicum”), is one of three case studies presented by DailyFinance, including Sour Patch Kids (another Canadian inspiration, oddly enough), and Chicago’s Swedish-inspired liquor of choice, Jeppson’s Malort.
The common denominator: A fearless embrace of your own identity. Not everyone will love a distinctively nasty-tasting product, but it’s a lot easier for a hard core to coalesce around one that wears its maladjusted flavor with pride.