When Brand Messaging Misses The Mark

Today a friend pointed out this great example of messaging gone awry.  In the image below, from a recent RiteAid circular, you can see their familiar “Welcome to Wellness” tagline is followed by a listing of items on sale, specifically: chips, soda, ice cream and candy!

Rite Aid Welcome to Wellness Circular

Now, as a fellow marketer, I want to give RiteAid the benefit of the doubt.  I’m sure that the masthead was designed to be constant, no matter what the contents of the page were.  Still, in today’s market, is it excusable to have such a bold tagline with such a weak follow through?  After all, CVS boldly removed all tobacco products from stores to support its wellness agenda.

Let’s explore the tagline a bit further. As far as I can tell, this is a part of a greater Wellness program that the brand has been rolling out. The Wellness program includes products and services designed to promote long term health and well being of individuals and communities.  There are some incredible aspects to this program, including the placement of Wellness Ambassadors in individual stores.   More benefits are found for members of the Wellness+ Loyalty Program, including specialized products and services for Diabetes patients.

RiteAid is not alone. These examples are all around us. It is up to us to call these brands out for false promises and mixed messages. I can recall another example from Budweiser just a few months ago where they released cans with messaging that claimed their beer helped “remove no from your vocabulary“.  That one didn’t go over so well either.

I do not think there was intent to mislead customers in RiteAid’s marketing, rather a neglect to test the content with the overall presentation. The net result was that the overall brand messaging rings hollow. That and the fact that I have no trust that RiteAid cares about my wellness while it promotes me junk food at cheap prices.  Hopefully someone at the brand will see this error and have a chance to run it up the flagpole.

Until then, I’ll just assume this circular is a promotion targeted at future Wellness Plus for Diabetes customers.

Many thanks to @KWeischadle for sharing this example today.

Also published on Medium.