Getting a good laugh out of a not so funny topic can either turn to marketing dream come true or a public relations nightmare. Today, everyone is pushing the envelope to see how far they can go in the world of their humor. With our love for instant gratification and social media doing some of the work for us, getting a laugh out of a shock factor may just what your company needs to jump-start your image. Humor, used strategically, creatively and within your company’s mission can be a good, no great idea. But tread lightly when you are making something funny that’s not so funny, especially with politics and religion. Here are some good examples of how big companies leveraged “the laugh” to boost their brand. Hint, hint: there is no politics or religion in these examples.
1. Kmart’s Edgy Play on Words
Talk about pushing the potty humor envelope. Kmart, renowned for their family-oriented retail image, pushed humor almost over the classic edge a few years back in 2013 with their I Shipped My Pants ad campaign. They successfully, some may say promoted their free shipping storewide program with the funny commercial featuring customers, both young and old stating they “just shipped their pants.” This ad went viral on social media, was the topic of discussion on many talk shows and even had mothers everywhere requesting the campaign be stopped immediately. This is what you call marketing genius that used humor to take a department store from their “blue light special” category to one that some might say, “Holy Ship, Batman! That was one brave marketing moment in time!”
2. Dollar Shave Club’s Use of A Four Letter Word
Dollar Shave Club went to marketing war with traditional razor blade companies with their quirky and entertaining video that uses one famous four letter word to make their razor-sharp point loud and clear. Mike, the online company’s founder is featured, asking the question, “Are our dollar razor blades any good?” He answers with their F***ng great! The famous four letter bad word is bleeped out to protect the innocent. Which leads us to the safety of their blades. He walks by a toddler shaving a guys head stating, “they are so gentle a toddler could use it.” Dollar Shave Club carefully used humor and a bit of politically incorrect subject matter to get their products on the marketing map. That was a dream come true for their brand and still is f***ng great!
3. Burger King And Sexual Overtones
Burger King, the Home of the Whopper used sex in a not so good way to sell burgers in their 2009 campaign, “It’ll Blow Your Mind Away” featuring a beautiful woman with red lipstick, mouth wide open staring at a sandwich they call a “super seven incher.” All we can say is, Wow, that is pushing the marketing card a bit too super far! Not only does it contain sexual overtones it continues with the tagline, “It’ll blow your mind away. Fill your desire for something long, juicy and”, well you get the picture. Experts say this was too controversial and degrading to women. Can you imagine if this would have been introduced in today’s #metoo movement? This is an excellent example of a brand that went a bit too far with the sex sells card and one most wouldn’t touch with a seven inch or even a ten-foot pole.
Susan W keeps her target audience in mind and writes a creative, clear, thoughtful piece. She has written hundreds of news articles, newsletters, informative letters, blog posts, emails, social media posts, magazine articles, news releases, executive speeches, promotional articles, catalog copy, web site copy, headlines and radio scripts. She researches and writes SEO friendly articles, using the best writing style for the article and audience. She has a “flair” for word combinations that promote and entertain. Whether the article is “short and sweet” or “long and lengthy” Susan’s style keeps the reader engaged and interested.