When someone complains about your ad

You think your new ad (or email, or mailing, or commercial) is a good one, and based on the early response, your target audience appears to agree.

Then the phone rings or an email shows up in your inbox. Someone is clearly upset with you. They don’t understand why you ran such an offensive message. They’ve found something objectionable in the visual, or perhaps in the words, taking offense at something you never considered. You didn’t plan to upset anyone! Now what should you do?

Three things. First, thank the complainer. Second, tell him or her that you appreciate the fact that he or she took the time to share their concern and that you’ll consider their comments. Third, forget about the complaint.

Does that sound harsh? It isn’t. You need to understand that no matter what you do, you’re going to offend somebody — usually for reasons you’d never imagine. If 10,000 people see your ad and two of them find it offensive, it looks to me like 9,998 people thought it was just fine. That’s where I’d focus.

Don’t cater to complainers. The ageless “wisdom” that the customer is always right isn’t true. Sometimes, the customer is simply deranged, and you shouldn’t let deranged people make your decisions for you.

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