Think Before Using An Iconic Image In Marketing

One of the big trends in advertising and public relations lately is to use iconic images and nostalgia. Yet Brands who plan to co-opt iconic American images should probably make sure they cast those images in a positive light. Swiffer learned that lesson the hard way when it injected Rosie the Riveter—who symbolized female empowerment in the workplace during World War II America—in an ad for its steam mops. Swiffer instantly apologized and took the ad down.

More companies are using such images in their marketing and public relations campaign as consumers show a yearning for a simpler time or images of the childhood. Yet the Swiffer example shows why companies need to be careful when invoking certain iconic images.

Things to consider:
Will the ad degrade the iconic image?
Will it offend any group?
Is it in poor taste?
How does it tie into the image and message that you are presenting?

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