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Advertising trope where a company admits they've had trouble in the past, but if you buy their products now you won't be disappointed. Basically, they are saying they have what it takes to Win Back the Crowd from whatever caused them to leave in the first place, but rather than silently do it and let word of mouth take over, they've decided on a less subtle approach. If not done with the correct level of self-depreciating humor, it tends to fall flat.
Compare New and Improved, which tries to imply that the product is better that it was without going into any detail about what was wrong before, or what they changed. See also Lampshade Hanging and The Man Is Sticking It to the Man. See also Public Relations Ad.
Known uses of this trope:
- Toyota since February 2010, at least in America, with the, "We fixed the engine screw-up that was killing people," message.
- Domino's Pizza, formerly known as the cheap but cardboardy brand, has been trying to change its image as of 2010. One of its commercials includes a dramatic reading of complaints about the quality of its pizza, followed by claims that they're changing how they make the stuff.
- Surprisingly seems to have worked out pretty well for them; the new pizza is definitely seen as better than the bulk of the competition.
- They are doing the same with their cheesy bread, now.
- "Under New Management" signs.
- The Coca-Cola/New Coke/Coke Classic saga.
- "Have you driven a Ford, lately?"
- British Leyland tried this once when they had a reputation for making lousy vehicles. It didn't work and they went bust.
- General Motors tried this in The Eighties with their "This Is Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" campaign. The goal was to change the old and stuffy image of the brand. The problem was that Oldsmobile already had a good reputation among the children of Oldsmobile owners before the campaign. Prospective buyers thought that they'd changed for the worse.
- The Toyota Corolla.
- The Corolla has always had a reputation as Boring Yet Practical.
- Bailey's are trying to rebrand, to lose their fusty, old-fashioned image. As they were trying so hard to prove that they Don't Suck Any More, they were hesitant to accept a request from The Mighty Boosh for a character called Old Gregg to be portrayed drinking Bailey's, since they imagined he would probably be an aging man. They eventually allowed the usage when they were informed that Old Gregg was, in fact, a transsexual man-fish, which is apparently much more in line with the company's new target market.
- British Petroleum is trying to invoke this, putting out full-page ads stating that they care about the environment and they're doing their absolute besty-best to clean up the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (but apparently have money leftover for full-page ads about it), which has now become bigger than the Exxon Valdez disaster in the late '80s.
- Phillip Morris and their We Care-style ads that ran during the period of time when Congress was enacting new anti-smoking laws and regulations. Most said something to the effect of "smoking these things will kill you, so read this medical data and buy snus instead, please."
- The Australian/New Zealand energy drink "Mother" was hideously unpopular due to its horrid taste. After it was re-formulated, an extensive marketing campaign was launched, including new cans that stated (literally) "Tastes NOTHING like the old one!" and TV ads depicting commandos beating up the people responsible for the taste of the old formula.
- This was parodied savagely on The Simpsons. In the episode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" around 2000, a TV screen shows a slightly surreal ad in which a car pulls up at a service station somewhere in the middle of the desert. Then the doors of the car open, and loud rock music blasts as a group of....well, whores start shimmying and vamping for the camera. Only then does the ad reveal that one of the girls is wearing a crucifx, and a lascivious male announcer states: "The Catholic Church. We've made a few....changes." We then cut immediately to the living room of the title characters, and one of them notes: "These Super Bowl ads get weirder every year."
- Melbourne radio station Triple M started out as a rock station, but got steadily more pop-oriented in The Noughties. In 2010, its playlists removed some of the lighter, poppier fare, and older and harder rock "classics" got more rotation. The station's advertisements during this period followed the trope exactly. It's still quite mainstream, though.
- Southern Ontario station Q107 plays many bumpers advertising that their commercials aren't as long as they used to be. Problem is, the bumpers only play before every commercial break, making one build an instinctive reflex to change the station upon hearing them.
- Almost every single advertisement from Icelandic banks after they collapsed in 2008, nearly bankrupting the country.
- There was once a Sprite commercial brandishing their new logo design and new taste... except at the end of the commercial was a cue card and the announcer very quickly stating "Now tastes more like 7-Up!". It was very quickly pulled off the air after someone at Coca-Cola must have realized the implications of admitting that the competition is better and something you're striving to be like.
- Super Mario Sunshine didn't exactly suck, but at a press conference, Nintendo called Super Mario Galaxy "The true successor to Super Mario 64." This, despite the fact that the whole traveling between planets, weird gravity things, and wide variety of transformations arguably make Galaxy more different from 64 than Sunshine was.
- A video game magazine once said that Star Wars video games were "back" and got a Lucas Arts employee to admit in an interview that there had been a time period during which Star Wars games had been sub-par.
- Taco Bell has begun trying this in the wake of the release of a study about just what quality their meat really is.
- Skoda, the Czech car company, used to have a reputation for making memetically bad cars in the UK during the Cold War. Since then they have been taken over by VW and now make cars of similar quality (often pretty much the same cars, in fact) but considerably cheaper. They were able to make a comeback in the UK with these cars by an advert campaign that acknowledged their former reputation and poked fun at it, for example with characters who refused to believe a car was a Skoda.
- Or in the Dutch speaking world: a whole page dedicated to showing every older model of Skoda and in the middle the slogan "Skoda: no more laughing".
- This was likely behind the Two Worlds developers mocking how bad TwoWorlds was before the release of Two Worlds 2. See here for the video on Youtube
- From the lead up to Sonic the Hedgehog 4 onwards, Sonic Team's commercials have focused on assuring fans that their games are no longer like their much maligned titles from the Play Station 2 era onwards: for example, the trailer for Sonic Generations includes a retrospective of Sonic games since the original Sonic the Hedgehog...and before the clip reaches Sonic Heroes (where the decline is often cited to have begun) we get a long shot of Sonic looking quite exasperated. Similarly, in the actual game, the level for the 2006 game is fittingly Crisis City.
- Irish Rail company Iarnrod Eireann had a "Soon we won't suck any more" with their slogan, "Getting there"...
- Microsoft's campaign with the Office 97 dinosaurs also qualifies.
- Hardee's/Carl's Jr when they invented the Thickburger. It was widely imitated
- Cartoon Network tried this approach when promoting it's CNReal programming block, saying "We're not just cartoons anymore." The problem was, hardly anybody thought they sucked before, so it just made people angry and the block failed.
- A commercial for the Atari 5200 actually lampooned their infamous Atari 2600 Pac-Man. This was because the Colecovision had an expansion module available that could play Atari 2600 games, and Atari was discouraging people from the competition.
- When Hyundai reentered the American market after addressing safety concerns, they aired a slick commercial showing a car driving through the countryside while an announcer described the car without mentioning the company, until the last line of the ad, which ended like with the words "...with the new Scoupe from Hyundai...yes, Hyundai."
- Since 1997, every re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy featured changes made by George Lucas to make them closer to his original vision, including enhanced special effects. What he failed to realise is that the fans didn't feel there was much need for improvement.
- Microsoft's "The Browser You Loved To Hate" Internet Explorer campaign