Why Bad News Sells: How Brands Leverage Negativity Bias for Success

Shah Mohammed
19 min readSep 3, 2023

You’re scrolling through your social media feed, and what catches your eye? Chances are, it’s the negative news stories, the controversial debates, or the critical reviews that stop you in your tracks. It’s a common phenomenon in today’s digital age: bad news seems to have an irresistible allure. But have you ever wondered why?

In the world of marketing and advertising, this phenomenon is not just a coincidence; it’s a carefully crafted strategy that taps into the very essence of human psychology. Welcome to the intriguing world of negativity bias in marketing.

Negativity bias is a psychological phenomenon deeply ingrained in our evolutionary history. It’s the tendency of our brains to pay more attention to, remember, and be influenced by negative information compared to positive or neutral information. And it’s a phenomenon that savvy brands have mastered the art of exploiting.

In this blog, we’ll take a journey through the science behind negativity bias, exploring why bad news seems to sell so well. We’ll delve into how this bias shapes consumer behaviour, influences our decisions, and ultimately, becomes a potent tool in the hands of brands. So, let’s embark on this exploration of why bad news sells and how brands leverage negativity bias for their own success.

Understanding Negativity Bias

Negativity bias is a cognitive bias that refers to the human tendency to give more weight, attention, and importance to negative information, experiences, or events compared to positive or neutral ones. In other words, we are more sensitive to and affected by adverse or unfavourable stimuli and experiences in our environment.

Negativity bias is rooted in the way our brains process information and prioritize it for survival and well-being. Several psychological mechanisms underlie this bias:

  1. Survival Instinct: Throughout human evolution, being attuned to potential threats and dangers was critical for survival. Our ancestors needed to quickly detect and respond to negative stimuli like predators, food scarcity, or environmental hazards. Those who paid more attention to these negatives were more likely to survive and pass on their genes. Being cautious in the face of potential danger reduces the risk of harm and increases the chances of survival. Those who were overly optimistic or dismissive of threats were less likely to thrive.
  2. Emotional Intensity: Negative emotions, such as fear and anxiety, tend to be more intense and have a greater impact on our well-being than positive emotions like joy or contentment. Evolution has favoured individuals who are vigilant toward negative emotions and situations, as they are more likely to take action to mitigate potential harm.
  3. Information Processing: The brain devotes more cognitive resources to processing negative information, making it more salient and memorable. This heightened processing helps individuals learn from past negative experiences and avoid repeating them.
  4. Social Interactions: In social contexts, negativity bias plays a role in forming and maintaining social bonds. Detecting potential social threats, such as deception or betrayal, was essential for building trust and cooperation within groups.
  5. Learning and Adaptation: Negative experiences served as powerful teaching tools. An individual who remembered a negative encounter with a dangerous animal, for instance, was better equipped to avoid similar situations in the future.

In today’s world, where survival is less dependent on avoiding physical dangers and more on making complex social and economic decisions, negativity bias still shapes our behaviour and has significant implications in areas like marketing, politics, and media consumption. Understanding the psychological and evolutionary basis of negativity bias is crucial for comprehending why bad news tends to grab our attention and how it can be harnessed for various purposes, including marketing strategies.

How Negativity Bias Affects Decision-Making and Perception in Everyday Life?

Negativity bias, the human tendency to prioritize negative information and experiences, has profound implications for decision-making and perception in various aspects of everyday life. Here’s how it influences our actions and viewpoints:

  1. News Consumption: When selecting news stories to read or watch, people are more drawn to negative headlines, such as crises, conflicts, or disasters. This preference for negative news can lead to an imbalanced perception of the world, where positive developments and progress are overshadowed by sensationalized negativity.
  2. Risk Assessment: Negativity bias impacts how we assess risks. Negative information about potential dangers, like health risks or financial losses, tends to be magnified, leading individuals to overestimate the likelihood and severity of negative outcomes. This cautious approach can be adaptive but may also lead to excessive worry or avoidance.
  3. Relationships: In personal relationships, negativity bias can amplify conflicts and grievances. Individuals tend to remember and dwell on negative interactions, criticisms, or hurtful comments more than positive moments. This can erode relationship satisfaction and lead to misunderstandings.
  4. Product Reviews: When reading product reviews or feedback, consumers often pay more attention to negative reviews. A single negative review can significantly impact their perception of a product, even if numerous positive reviews exist. This can influence purchase decisions and product choices.
  5. Memory Formation: Negative experiences tend to be more memorable than positive ones. People may vividly remember past failures, embarrassments, or losses, which can affect their self-esteem and future decisions. Positive achievements may be overshadowed.
  6. Political Beliefs: In politics, negativity bias can shape perceptions of candidates and policies. Negative campaign ads and news stories highlighting scandals or failures can have a disproportionate impact on voters, potentially swaying their opinions.
  7. Financial Decision-Making: In finance, negativity bias can lead to risk aversion, causing individuals to make conservative investment choices to avoid potential losses. This bias can affect long-term financial planning and wealth accumulation.
  8. Social Media and Online Interactions: On social media platforms, negative comments and criticisms often receive more attention and engagement than positive ones. This can create an environment where negativity is amplified, potentially influencing public opinion and online behaviour.
  9. Stress and Anxiety: Negativity bias contributes to stress and anxiety by causing individuals to focus on potential threats and negative outcomes. This can lead to a heightened state of alertness and chronic worry.
  10. Learning and Growth: While negativity bias can lead to risk aversion, it also facilitates learning from mistakes and setbacks. Individuals may pay more attention to negative feedback, which can be valuable for personal development and skill improvement.
  11. Health and Safety Concerns: Negativity bias can lead individuals to overestimate health risks. For example, people may be more focused on the potential side effects of medication or the dangers of specific foods, even when the actual risks are relatively low.
  12. Social Media Comparisons: On social media platforms, people often compare themselves to others. Negativity bias can lead individuals to perceive others’ lives as more glamorous or successful, fostering feelings of inadequacy and envy.
  13. Customer Service Interactions: In customer service, a single negative experience can significantly impact customer perception. Customers may be more vocal about negative experiences and less likely to share positive ones, which can affect a company’s reputation.
  14. Parenting and Education: Parents and educators may focus more on students’ mistakes and weaknesses than their achievements. This can inadvertently create a negative learning environment and impact children’s self-esteem.
  15. Perception of Success: Individuals may perceive success as more elusive than it actually is due to their tendency to focus on potential obstacles and failures. This can impact motivation and goal-setting.
  16. Conflict Resolution: In conflict resolution, negativity bias can hinder effective communication. People may remember negative interactions and grievances more vividly, making it challenging to build trust and find common ground.
  17. Public Speaking and Presentation: Public speakers and presenters often remember negative feedback or criticism from their audience more than positive feedback. This can affect their self-confidence and future presentations.
  18. Self-Criticism: Negativity bias can lead to heightened self-criticism. Individuals may focus on their weaknesses and perceived failures, potentially affecting their self-esteem and well-being.

Recognizing the influence of negativity bias in decision-making and perception is essential for making informed choices and understanding why we may be drawn to negative information. In marketing and communication, it underscores the power of negative messaging to capture attention, even if it doesn’t always reflect an accurate overall picture of reality.

How do Brands Leverage Negativity Bias?

Brands exploit negativity bias for success by strategically incorporating it into their marketing and advertising strategies. Here are some key strategies that brands use to leverage negativity bias:

  1. Highlighting Pain Points: Brands often identify common pain points or challenges that their target audience faces. By addressing these issues in marketing campaigns, brands tap into the negativity bias, as consumers are naturally drawn to solutions that alleviate their problems.
  2. Problem-Solution Storytelling: Brands tell stories that highlight problems or obstacles and then present their products or services as the solution. This storytelling approach not only engages consumers emotionally but also positions the brand as a problem solver.
  3. Negative Social Proof: Brands may use negative social proof to convey that many people are experiencing a particular issue or challenge. This can create a sense of urgency and the fear of missing out (FOMO), prompting consumers to take action.
  4. Fear-Based Marketing: Fear is a powerful emotion associated with a negativity bias. Brands use fear-based marketing to highlight the potential negative consequences of not using their products or services. This can be seen in health-related campaigns, security products, and more.
  5. Comparison Marketing: Brands often compare their products or services to competitors, emphasizing why they are superior. This strategy leverages negativity bias as consumers tend to focus on the shortcomings of alternatives.
  6. Highlighting Flaws and Vulnerabilities: Some brands intentionally acknowledge their own flaws or vulnerabilities, creating a sense of authenticity and relatability. This can foster a more positive perception, as consumers appreciate honesty.
  7. Customer Reviews and Testimonials: Brands showcase customer reviews and testimonials, including negative feedback, to highlight transparency and build trust. Negative reviews can make positive ones appear more genuine.
  8. Creating Emotional Resonance: Brands aim to create emotional resonance with consumers by tapping into shared negative emotions, such as frustration, sadness, or anger. This can lead to a deeper connection and brand loyalty.
  9. Limited-Time Offers and Scarcity: Brands use scarcity tactics, such as limited-time offers and low stock warnings, to trigger consumers’ fear of missing out. This strategy exploits the urgency associated with negativity bias.
  10. Negative Headlines and Sensationalism: In advertising and content creation, brands may use negative headlines or sensationalism to capture attention and encourage readers or viewers to engage further.
  11. Crisis Management and Responsiveness: Brands that effectively handle crises or customer complaints can turn a negative situation into a positive one. Demonstrating responsiveness and commitment to resolution can enhance brand reputation.
  12. Emphasizing Loss Aversion: Brands may highlight what consumers stand to lose by not choosing their products or services. This taps into the psychological concept of loss aversion, where people are more motivated to avoid losses than to achieve gains.
  13. Social Media Controversies: Brands may intentionally or unintentionally become embroiled in social media controversies. How they handle these situations can impact their brand image, with some controversies leading to increased attention and engagement.
  14. Using Contrast and Before-After Scenarios: Brands often present before-and-after scenarios to showcase the transformation their products or services can bring. This strategy emphasizes the negative “before” state and the positive “after” state.
  15. Exposing Vulnerabilities of Competitors: Brands may conduct marketing campaigns that expose vulnerabilities or shortcomings in their competitors’ offerings. This approach aims to create doubt about competing products or services.

It’s important to note that while leveraging negativity bias can be effective in marketing, brands must strike a balance and act ethically. Overly fear-based or manipulative tactics can harm a brand’s reputation and erode consumer trust. Brands that genuinely provide value and solutions to consumers’ problems while being transparent tend to build stronger and more lasting relationships with their audience.

A Few Real-Brand Examples

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign

Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign challenged traditional beauty standards by highlighting the negative impact of unrealistic beauty ideals on women’s self-esteem. Through powerful video ads and social experiments, Dove encouraged women to embrace their natural beauty.

This campaign used negative images of women to challenge the traditional definition of beauty. The campaign’s success was attributed to its focus on countering negative self-perceptions and promoting self-acceptance.


In the 1920s, Listerine revolutionized the world of marketing by using a fear-based approach and negative bias through fear appeal to influence customers. At that time, Listerine was marketed as a mouthwash solution to combat “halitosis,” a term the brand popularized for bad breath. Here’s how Listerine employed this strategy to great effect:

Listerine’s advertising campaigns preyed on people’s fear of social rejection due to bad breath. They painted a vivid picture of the potential consequences of halitosis, such as losing friends, damaging romantic relationships, and facing rejection in both personal and professional spheres.

  • “Often a Bridesmaid, but Never a Bride”: One of Listerine’s most famous ads featured a distressed young woman under the headline “Often a Bridesmaid, but Never a Bride.” The implication was clear: bad breath could ruin not only social interactions but also one’s chances of getting married. This campaign played on the fear of missing out on life’s most significant milestones.
  • Implying Relationship Breakdown: Listerine ads often depicted couples, with the implication that bad breath could lead to relationship breakdowns. One ad read, “Can you afford to be less popular than a skunk at a lawn party?” This negative imagery reinforced the fear that bad breath could destroy personal connections.
  • “Losing a Job Opportunity”: Listerine ads also suggested that bad breath could cost individuals job opportunities. The fear of failing in professional life due to halitosis was used to encourage product use.
  • Creating the Term “Halitosis”: Listerine even coined the term “halitosis” to medicalize bad breath and make it sound like a serious condition. This linguistic tactic was designed to amplify the perceived problem’s gravity.
  • The Promise of Social Acceptance: Listerine’s marketing strategy was to make consumers believe that using their product could prevent all these dire consequences. The fear appeal was followed by the promise of social acceptance, success in relationships, and career advancement through Listerine use.

Listerine’s fear-based marketing approach was groundbreaking and highly effective. It exploited negativity bias by emphasizing the potential negative outcomes of not using the product. Consumers, fearing the consequences of halitosis as presented in Listerine’s ads, were more likely to purchase and use the product to avoid the depicted social and personal disasters.

The State Farm “Mayhem” Commercials

The State Farm “Mayhem” commercials are a clever and humorous example of how a brand leveraged negativity bias in a unique and memorable way. These commercials, which ran from 2010 to 2018, featured actor Dean Winters portraying “Mayhem,” a personification of various disastrous and unpredictable events that can cause accidents and mishaps.

Here’s how the “Mayhem” commercials used negativity bias:

  • Highlighting Worst-Case Scenarios: “Mayhem” embodied worst-case scenarios that people fear while driving or protecting their property. This character brought to life the potential negative outcomes that individuals worry about, such as car accidents, home burglaries, and unexpected disasters.
  • Engaging Fear and Anxiety: “Mayhem” triggered viewers’ fear and anxiety by demonstrating the chaotic and unpredictable nature of accidents. The character’s mischievous and destructive behaviour emphasises the consequences of not being prepared for unexpected events.
  • Personalizing the Threat: Dean Winters’ portrayal of “Mayhem” humanized the threats, making them relatable and more impactful. He became the embodiment of the negative events that can disrupt people’s lives.
  • Providing a Solution: In each commercial, State Farm positioned itself as the solution to mitigate the chaos caused by “Mayhem.” By presenting itself as a reliable insurance provider, the brand offered a way for consumers to protect themselves against the unpredictable and often disastrous events that “Mayhem” represented.
  • Memorable and Shareable Content: The humour and creativity of the “Mayhem” commercials made them highly memorable and shareable. Viewers were more likely to remember State Farm’s message due to the entertaining way in which it was delivered.

Reinforcing the Need for Insurance: These commercials reinforced the idea that insurance is essential for safeguarding against life’s unexpected challenges. They emphasized that without the right coverage, people could find themselves facing financial and emotional turmoil.

Extending the Brand’s Message: While negativity bias was a central element, the commercials balanced it with humour, ensuring that the message was impactful without being overly fearful or distressing. This approach made them more appealing to a wide audience.

The State Farm “Mayhem” commercials successfully leveraged negativity bias by tapping into viewers’ fears and concerns about potential accidents and disasters. They used humour and creativity to convey a serious message about the importance of insurance coverage, making State Farm a memorable choice when consumers considered protecting themselves against life’s “mayhem.”

Burger King’s “Whopper Detour” Campaign

Burger King’s “Whopper Detour” campaign, launched in December 2018, is a remarkable example of how a brand cleverly used negativity bias to create buzz and drive engagement. This innovative campaign capitalized on the negative perception of its biggest rival, McDonald’s, to promote its own product. Here’s how Burger King employed negativity bias:

  • Negative Comparison with Competitor: The core premise of the “Whopper Detour” campaign was to encourage consumers to go to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. Burger King’s app used geofencing technology to detect when customers were within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location. When this happened, the app unlocked a special offer for a one-cent Whopper at Burger King.
  • Leveraging McDonald’s Reputation: McDonald’s is one of the world’s most recognized fast-food chains. While it has a massive customer base, it has also faced negative perceptions regarding the quality and taste of its food. Burger King subtly played on this perception by encouraging customers to visit McDonald’s locations. By doing so, they indirectly implied that there was something better at Burger King.
  • Creating a Sense of Exclusivity: The “Whopper Detour” campaign created a sense of exclusivity for those who participated. Customers felt like they were part of a special club getting an incredible deal, even if they had to visit a McDonald’s restaurant first. This exclusivity appealed to consumers’ desire for unique experiences.
  • Social Media Buzz: The campaign was designed to go viral. Customers were encouraged to share their experiences on social media, including photos and videos of their trips to McDonald’s and subsequent visits to Burger King. This created a social media buzz around the campaign, further emphasizing the negative association with McDonald’s and the positive experience at Burger King.
  • Highlighting a Competitor’s Weakness: While not explicitly stating it, the campaign hinted at the idea that McDonald’s was not as technologically advanced as Burger King. The fact that customers could use the Burger King app to unlock the deal while at McDonald’s subtly suggested that Burger King was ahead in terms of digital innovation.
  • Creating Playful Competition: The campaign introduced a playful and competitive element between the two fast-food giants. It turned the fast-food industry into a game, with Burger King challenging customers to take part in the “Whopper Detour” and outsmart their competitor.
  • Humorous Approach: Burger King used humour to lighten the negative association with visiting a McDonald’s. The tone of the campaign was playful, and it aimed to entertain rather than offend. This helped strike a balance between leveraging negativity bias and maintaining a lighthearted approach.

The campaign was very successful in driving traffic to Burger King restaurants. In the first 24 hours of the campaign, Burger King saw a 170% increase in foot traffic. The campaign also generated a lot of media attention, with articles being published in major publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

Burger King’s “Whopper Detour” campaign effectively tapped into negativity bias by encouraging consumers to visit a rival’s restaurant before rewarding them with a special deal. It leveraged the perception that McDonald’s was not the ultimate destination for burger lovers and created an engaging and memorable marketing campaign that generated significant attention and conversation. The campaign demonstrated how a brand could use a negative association with a competitor to its advantage while maintaining a sense of humour and playfulness.

Charmin’s “Enjoy the Go” Campaign

Charmin’s “Enjoy the Go” campaign, launched in the early 2000s, was a clever marketing strategy that subtly leveraged negativity bias to promote its toilet paper products. Here’s how Charmin employed this approach:

  • Addressing a Common Unpleasant Experience: The campaign acknowledged the negative aspects of using inferior toilet paper or experiencing discomfort in the restroom. It recognized the uncomfortable reality that everyone has to use the bathroom and that using poor-quality toilet paper can make this experience unpleasant.
  • Humorous Yet Relatable Messaging: Charmin used humour in its advertising to tackle the subject matter with a light-hearted approach. By presenting situations in which people had to endure unpleasant restroom experiences, Charmin created a relatable and humorous narrative that played on viewers’ shared negative experiences.
  • Creating a Solution to a Perceived Problem: While the campaign acknowledged the negative aspects of restroom experiences, it positioned Charmin as the solution to these problems. The tagline “Enjoy the Go” emphasized the idea that Charmin toilet paper could enhance the experience and make it more comfortable.
  • Stressing the Importance of Quality: Charmin subtly emphasized the negative consequences of using low-quality toilet paper without explicitly highlighting them. Viewers were encouraged to consider the discomfort and frustration associated with subpar products, prompting them to appreciate the quality Charmin offered.
  • Normalizing the Discussion: The campaign helped normalize discussions about restroom-related discomfort. By openly addressing a topic that many people considered taboo, Charmin created a sense of relatability and encouraged conversations about a subject that was often kept private.
  • Leveraging Consumer Dissatisfaction: Charmin recognized that consumers often had negative perceptions of their restroom experiences due to the products they used. By tapping into this dissatisfaction, the brand was able to position itself as a solution to a common problem.

Reinforcing Brand Value: The campaign reinforced the idea that Charmin’s products were not just about hygiene but also about comfort and overall well-being. It suggested that consumers deserved a better experience and highlighted the potential negative consequences of not using Charmin.

The “Enjoy the Go” campaign effectively used negativity bias to position Charmin as the brand that could alleviate these negative experiences and enhance comfort. The campaign’s humorous and relatable messaging helped create a positive association with the brand while leveraging negativity bias to drive home the importance of product quality in everyday life.

Avis’s “We Try Harder” Campaign

Avis’s “We Try Harder” campaign, which began in 1962, is a classic example of a brand using negativity bias in its advertising strategy. At the time, Avis was the second-largest car rental company in the United States, trailing behind the market leader, Hertz. Here’s how Avis employed negativity bias in this campaign:

  • Acknowledging Second-Place Status: Avis openly acknowledged that it was not the market leader and was, in fact, second in the industry. By doing so, Avis embraced a negative aspect of its brand positioning, which was its smaller market share.
  • Challenging the Status Quo: The campaign challenged the idea that being the market leader equated to providing better service. Avis asserted that being in second place motivated them to work harder and provide superior service to their customers. This challenge to the perceived hierarchy was a key aspect of the campaign.
  • Using Negative Language: The campaign used negative language in its tagline: “We’re only №2. We try harder.” The phrase “only №2” emphasized Avis’s second-place status, framing it as a disadvantage compared to Hertz.
  • Leveraging Competitive Drive: By framing themselves as the underdog, Avis tapped into the competitive nature of consumers. The campaign implied that Avis was driven by a desire to excel and outperform its larger competitor, appealing to customers who appreciated hard work and determination.
  • Promising Better Service: Avis didn’t just acknowledge its second-place status; it promised better service because of it. The campaign suggested that Avis employees were more committed to customer satisfaction and would go the extra mile to earn their business.
  • Highlighting Improvement: Avis emphasized its continuous effort to improve and surpass customer expectations. This strategy positioned Avis as a brand that was willing to learn from its mistakes and actively work on becoming better.
  • Encouraging Consumer Participation: The campaign encouraged consumers to actively participate in Avis’s success. By choosing Avis over Hertz, customers could contribute to the success of an underdog, appealing to their sense of fairness and support for the “little guy.”

Al Ries and Jack Trout argued in their book on Brand Positioning that Avis’s acknowledgement of its second-place status was a strategic move that allowed the company to create a distinct position in consumers’ minds. By openly admitting its position and emphasizing its commitment to trying harder than the market leader (Hertz), Avis positioned itself as a company that cared more about customer service and satisfaction. This positioning was designed to appeal to consumers who valued dedication, effort, and personalized service.

In summary, Avis’s “We Try Harder” campaign effectively used negativity bias by acknowledging its second-place status and framing it as a motivator for providing superior service. By positioning themselves as the brand that had to work harder to earn customers’ trust and business, Avis appealed to consumers who appreciated effort and dedication. This campaign not only revitalized the Avis brand but also became a classic example of how acknowledging weaknesses can be a strength in advertising.

Volkswagen’s “Lemon” Print Ad

Volkswagen’s “Lemon” print ad from the 1960s is a famous example of how a brand used negativity bias in advertising.

The ad features a picture of a Volkswagen Beetle with a single word written on it: “Lemon.” The word “Lemon” is in all caps and is written in a large, bold font.

Here’s how Volkswagen employed this strategy:

  • Acknowledging Imperfection: The headline of the ad simply read, “Lemon.” This word choice was deliberate, as “lemon” is a slang term used to describe a defective or subpar product, especially a car. Volkswagen openly acknowledged the negative perception associated with the term and, in doing so, addressed a common concern among consumers about the quality of cars.
  • Using Negative Language: The term “Lemon” is inherently negative and carries a strong association with disappointment and dissatisfaction. By using this word as the headline, Volkswagen confronted the negative bias associated with the word head-on.
  • Highlighting Stringent Inspection: The body of the ad explained that Volkswagen subjected every car to “59 inspections” and “final inspection by a specialized Volkswagen inspector” before it could be deemed roadworthy. This message emphasized the brand’s commitment to quality and the measures taken to ensure that each car met high standards.
  • Building Trust Through Transparency: Volkswagen’s willingness to address the negative perception of their product and provide details about their rigorous quality control process helped build trust with consumers. The ad conveyed a sense of transparency and authenticity.
  • Leveraging Humor: The use of humour in the ad lightened the negative message. It playfully acknowledged the “Lemon” label while assuring consumers that Volkswagen took the issue seriously and had resolved it.
  • Demonstrating Self-Awareness: By addressing potential doubts and concerns head-on, Volkswagen demonstrated self-awareness and a willingness to confront negative stereotypes. This approach set the brand apart from competitors that might have avoided discussing such issues.
  • Positioning Quality as a Priority: Through the “Lemon” ad, Volkswagen positioned itself as a brand that prioritized quality and thorough inspection processes. It subtly suggested that not all car manufacturers took the same level of care with their products.

The “Lemon” print ad was a bold and effective use of negativity bias in advertising. Volkswagen embraced the negative connotations of the term and turned it into a positive message about the brand’s commitment to quality and attention to detail. This iconic ad not only challenged consumer perceptions but also became a classic example of how addressing potential weaknesses can enhance a brand’s image and build trust with consumers.

In conclusion, negativity bias is a powerful psychological phenomenon that shapes our perceptions and decision-making processes. Brands that understand how to harness this bias in their marketing strategies can effectively engage and influence consumers. By acknowledging and addressing negative aspects, brands can create memorable campaigns, build trust, and position themselves uniquely in the minds of their audience.