Testimonials were a common route used by creatives and marketing departments to legitimize the claims made by a product in the consumers mind. Dove’s entire campaign was built on testimonials, Banks have tried to soften their image using testimonials, Car companies, Consumer Packaged Goods every category has been sold with testimonials.
But consumers today are savvy and though they are gullible in other ways (reality Tv and the kardashian’s come to mind) they no longer trust positive content put out and paid for by companies.
Social Media means a brands testimonials can be met with consumer’s negative testimonials.
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t do testimonials.. Let’s call them reviews and it becomes clear that those reviews have to seem unbiased. Amazon’s entire business is built on the testimonial / review model and it’s still effective but a company cannot be perceived as being involved in the positive reviews or it negates the review altogether. They can and should address the negative ones, but thats where it needs to end.
Look at Dove .. did we ever see a Negative Dove Testimonial ad – I’m sure plenty of women who tried it, didn’t like it.. but would dove pay for those testimonials to be aired? With the advent of social media and the fact that those testimonials could now be easily available to anyone who choses to check the validity of a claim.. well it meant a change in route. Hence GoodBye Testimonials .. Hello Real Beauty