When it comes to making something people will notice, what you shouldn’t do is a fair guide to what you should.
The point I’m ambling towards is that if you can find a crafty way to bring the opposite of what everyone expects from your brand to life, and make it logical, you’re generally on your way to making something grand.
OMO’s “Dirt is Good” championed the benefits of getting dirty, Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” celebrated domestic pedigree. Both were eloquent insights that stood in direct opposition to what was expected from either brand.
Two Ads I Hate – Out of Pure Jealousy
Nike – Colin Kaepernick
Take Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign. When it came time to sponsor a player for the NFL season, Nike chose to sponsor a player who had been rejected by the entire league.
Kaepernick’s purpose was topical, still is, but it wasn’t the only reason this campaign did so well for Nike. What made this great was that it was so unexpected for such a huge ‘appeal to everyone’ type brand to step away from using the most universally popular athlete.
Sure, it was divisive, but no one looks up to the shoe burners and sock cutters anyway. So if a few irrational hicks stop wearing your brand, it’s probably a good thing.
Burger King: McWhopper
This next one is two years old, but I love it and it’s the gold standard in terms of earned media. Plus, it ladders up to my point. So there’s that.
The McWhopper. Burger King did what no-one expected either of the world’s largest burger chains would ever do. They proposed every 14-year-old’s food fantasy, a combination of both restaurants’ flagship burgers.
This was the burger chain equivalent of one boxer kissing another boxer during a press conference face off – as cordial and polite a gesture as any at face value but one with a torrential undercurrent of pure mischievous malice.
It had the world talking and left McDonald’s with nowhere to go. It was perfect.
Ads I Actually Hate
All the Christmas adverts that are coming out. All of them. It always makes me feel like an emotionless psychopath to see people sharing and talking about a supermarket Christmas ad like it was a Disney fairy tale.
I feel nothing. Maybe just a little contempt.
I feel this way because they are so expected. Every year, at the same time, the same brands break out the same formula in an effort to tug on your heartstrings/wallet. I know there are those out there that lap up the schmaltz like so much eggnog but I just can’t bring myself to love them.
One look at how much attention Iceland’s banned Greenpeace spot just received only backs the power of doing the opposite.
Do what you shouldn’t. Make me hate you for the right reason.