This article on GD topic – ‘Controversy as a marketing strategy’ is helpful for MBA aspirants and for MBA students, who are attending interviews.


  • In order to grab attention, some companies create controversy through announcements, advertisements etc. Using controversy as a marketing strategy is not new, but now with social media controversial content goes viral and hence generating more attention. But this strategy is quite risky too. So, marketing professionals should be careful when they decide to use controversy as a marketing strategy.

Does controversy as a marketing strategy work?

  • In present times, it is very difficult to attract the attention of people considering the number of companies and advertisements competing for the same. So, the content which stands out can reach more potential customers. And controversy helps to be noticeable at least for a while because out of curiosity people try to know about the controversy and will eventually wait to see the consequences.
  • For example, Several moviemakers are now creating some sort of controversies to reach more audience. And some other movies unwillingly end up in controversies. In general, movies on social issues that try to challenge the orthodox views fall in this category. And the controversy generates more publicity, which is super helpful for any movie and especially for small budget movies. Even some actors are making controversial statements just to market themselves. Because moviemakers hire actors that have talent as well as fame.
  • But this marketing strategy helps in only getting attention, and if the content or the product is not worth the money, the attention will disappear as fast as it came. For example, if a movie gets attention through controversy, it can get the audience for the first show of the first day. But the success of the movie depends on its content and mostly on mouth publicity.
  • Using controversy as a marketing strategy is quite risky too because if it uses any sensitive topic in a way that hurts the sentiments of people, it may generate negative publicity and can affect the reputation of the company.
  • And this method cannot work as a long term strategy. For example, if we observe youtube channels that keep click baits as titles. They may get attention, but in the long run, people will lose trust in their content and eventually it fails.
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To sum up, we can say that controversy will work to market products, but it should be used cautiously to avoid bad reputation to the company. Before trying controversy as a marketing strategy, marketing professionals should follow ethics and need to thoroughly assess the probable consequences. And to secure long-term customer loyalty, the product or the content should be worth the price.

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