Selective demarketing based on well-known practical examples. Thanks go to Frank Keuper, C-Level Coach Ihr Coaching Institut and Managing Partners TRANSTECHTURE and Yasser Qushta, Associate Principal TRANSTECHTURE.

Lonsdale (Fashion)

The English fashion brand Lonsdale, which primarily offers sports and sporty leisure clothing, has in the past been increasingly in demand from customers who wore the clothing in particular at right-wing extremist rallies. The reason for this was the lettering NSDA, which appears in the brand name. The supercharging of the brand had an increasingly deterrent effect on customers who did not share right-wing extremist sentiments and also did not want to be associated with them.

As a result, demand in these market segments fell. Department stores took the brand Lonsdalefrom their range and the Berlin police temporarily banned their officers from wearing the brand on duty. The company reacted to the unintentional charging of the brand with an increased commitment to events of a politically opposed orientation and openly communicated that right-wing extremist customers were undesirable ("Don't feel like Nazis").

The chosen demarketing instrument, i.e. the promotion of a political view that unwanted customers do not accept, was basically effective, but took effect much too late. The company is still struggling with the resulting damage to its image today.

Many hands in rainbow colors. Damage to the image of Frankfurt am Main.
Shitstorm, image damage, Frankfurt am Main, coaching, coach.

Selective Demarketing

Table of Contents

Unwanted customers, so-called loss-making customers in the meaning of selective demarketing make

  • ​on the one hand unprofitable, strategically insignificant customers and
  • on the other hand, originally profitable but strategically insignificant customers who, taking into account their derivative negative spillover effects, are also unprofitable.

Under selective demarketingwe understand the targeted management of demand from non-target markets and deficient customer relationships with the aim of optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire customer base. As part of the With selective demarketing, we align aggregate demand more closely with the value proposition. In doing so, we avert the dangers associated with possible customer exclusion (e.g. shitstorm) from the company.

Another example shows how difficult it is to implement selective demarketing.

Abercrombie & Fitsch (Fashion)

​At Abercrombie & Fitsch from the company's point of view, overweight people did not meet the requirements of the US fashion company's target group. They therefore have a negative spillover effect on the corporate image and are therefore undesirable. The fashion company eliminated selected large sizes from its range after publicly distancing itself from overweight people and describing them in dehumanized terms. The communication of the measure was particularly unfavorable. The statement "Fatchicks will never be part of the ingroup' triggered one shitstorm .

​Few successful examples of unprofessional selective demarketing can not only be found in the fashion industry.

Kabel Deutschland, today Vodafone (telecommunications)

Cable Germany (today Vodafone) determined that the excessive use of the DSL flat rate by heavy users had a negative effect on the overall calculation. The heavy users, who were unwanted from the point of view of the provider, were initially warned and terminated if their unwanted behavior did not change.

​“Unfortunately, we have to inform you that you have noticed a very high data consumption as part of our consumption analysis. (...). If your usage behavior does not change in the sense of a significant minimization of the transmitted data volume, we will be forced (...) to terminate your contract with Kabel Deutschland Vertrieb und Service GmbH & Co. KG without further notice."

​The negative press was huge. Telecom companies today are much smarter. They point out to the user that the use is too intensive and offer the possibility of a surcharge. This goes down much better with the target group.

1 & 1 (telecoms)

​also 1 & 1 had to certify negative effects on the overall result due to the excessive use of the DSL flat rate by heavy users in the past. The termination was suggested to the excessive users, partly i. V. m. a severance payment of 100 euros. Users who accepted the offer were not accepted as customers again - for all other customers, the contractual relationship remained in place with unchanged conditions. Although there were negative reactions from affected customers and observers, most customers accepted the offer and looked for another provider.

ARAG (insurance)

The insurance company ARAG faced customers of its legal protection offering who became unprofitable and unwanted due to a high number of reported and settled claims. ARAG reacted to the unprofitability by completely terminating the provider's relationship with around 80.000 legal protection insurance contracts. As far as is known, the terminations were legally compliant in accordance with the contractual agreements. the Termination of unprofitable relationships had a very positive effect on the company's bottom line. Negative effects are not known.

Kronenbourg (beer industry)

The premium beer brand Kronenbourg did not want customers who drank the beer very quickly and excessively for social reasons (performance drinkers). These damaged the premium image of the manufacturer. The company had an advertising campaign created that encouraged people to enjoy the drink slowly and calmly. This was intended to demotivate the unwanted customers who attracted attention by drinking particularly quickly. Since the Motives of unwanted customers not met were, has the Measure no real effect unfolded.

Cristal​ (champagne branch)

After the US musician Jay Z the exclusive champagneCrystal' used by L. Roederer in his music videos and poured live performance over dancers during a live performance, demand in the provider's target segment declined. Among other things, reported that branded drinks were no longer being ordered for select golf tournaments. The company publicly distanced itself from the unwanted musician through a company spokesman. An outcry went through the rap world. This outcry is a good example of how a negative customer recommendation in the group of unwanted customers can increase the effect of the demarketing measures. Today, the "Cristal" is once again established in the luxury segment.

The selected examples reflect only a small part of the often unprofessional demarketing activities. As a rule, these are uncoordinated measures that are not based on a management approach.

Professional selective demarketing means change through critical reflection of the customer portfolioto START NEW, CHANGE the STATUS QUO and GROW through ethically reflected reduction to reach.

​Selective demarketing not only directs the attention to the desired customers, sharpens brand awareness, focuses on corporate and marketing ethics, prioritizes employees (employees first, customer second), frees up resources and creates space for change.

The sketched examples show: 

Selective demarketing is primarily a strategic tool and not an operational crisis manager.


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