On the hunt for something ‘gangsta’ to listen to this morning, our developer started a bit of an office debate as to what exactly is classed as gangsta these days.
We’re talking a conversation between a self-confessed SEO nerd, a cardigan-obsessed coder and a knitting Photoshop wizard: we’re not exactly the most badass crew you’ll ever meet, but we did manage to conclude that whereas we’re not entirely sure how gansta Akon ever was and Pharrell Williams has lost some serious G-points in recent years (too happy, I think) Snoop Dogg, was, is and always will be unquestionably gansta.
I did, in this conversation, have to play the Money Supermarket card however…
We’ve talked briefly about viral marketing in a previous blog post and looked into what it is that makes something a viral success. Of course, in this case, it was the shock factor. No one would expect to see someone like Snoop featuring in a British advert for a price comparison site. It seems a little bit lame. And understandably there was a mixed reaction and dropped jaws all over social media. Our SEO nerd argued this morning that, on the contrary, appearing on the Money Supermarket ad actually gave Snoop D-O-Double Gizzle even more gansta points.
I can see where he’s coming from: it does make him look ‘up for a laugh’ and using Snoop worked well in grabbing ‘Oh Em Geeee’ style attention in the Money Supermarket case. So does this mean we’re at a stage in marketing (or in life for that matter) where daring to do something a bit daft now gives us cool points? I sure hope so.
However, there’s definitely a formula to getting it right. Of course, we weren’t all born super cool like Snoop, so as marketers or advertisers, how do we create something viral without making it look desperate or contrived?
Super Marketing VS Silly Marketing
Admittedly, I began to get a bit sick of viral advertising when I saw a Satsuma singing ‘Alone’ by Heart. On first viewing this Satsuma Loan advert one evening I found myself saying out loud – ‘Right, that’s it! I’m done with marketing!’
After a second or two the penny dropped and I realised that this Ann Wilson orange is actually singing about how to get ‘A loaaaaaaan!’ – a loan that you can pay back in nice weekly ‘segments’…. Okay so maybe I was a bit hasty in thinking that their marketing strategy was just to jump on the silly bandwagon and blindly mash together a load of trending elements with ‘going viral’ in mind.
Verdict? I’ll give this one Super Marketing! I could be biased due to how much I love Heart though.
I don’t care how cold-hearted I might look when it comes to this next ad though, I just can’t get on board with biscuit kittens:
Okay, they’re cute…but the only connection I can see between biscuits and kittens is….well…there isn’t any. McVities have tenuously linked the two using the word ‘Sweet’. It wouldn’t be the word I would use to describe a digestive – I don’t care how much chocolate you put on it.
My position is clear on this one – riding the kitty coat-tails to success has just left McVities looking a bit desperate in this case and I’m afraid I’m calling it Silly Marketing. I mean, it’s almost as tenuous as linking marketing to gangsta rap…
However, whatever this creature is, McVities changed my mind with this one for Jaffa Cakes:
I’ll admit, it’s probably ten times as silly as the digestive kittens – the nostalgic Blockbusters theme-tune, the ‘is it cute, is it creepy?’ tarsier (thanks Google!) and even the 80s throwback styling of the main man – it all smacks a little bit of ‘Gremlins’ which just makes it even more likeable.
So I’ll give McVities a Super Marketing verdict when it comes to Jaffa Cakes – I’ll just be sure not to eat any after midnight.
And speaking of things happening after midnight… Judas Priest is a strange choice in my next silly marketing ad…
Although not a viral success, this ad certainly had a few head-bangers scratching their…erm, heads! The thing I find strange (and a little bit silly) about this ad is that, despite the nostalgic 80s head-banger tune, there is no other ‘viral’ element. It doesn’t appear to be attempting any emotional viewer response.
You would think, that if Jus Rol were trying to appeal to the inner rebel of every corner-cutting culinary super-mum that they would add an extra element of humour maybe? As it is, it just looks a bit of a strange choice.
Maybe I’m missing something here, but I’ll have to label this one under Silly Marketing.
No viral marketing list would be complete without this year’s ‘Sing it Kitty’ advert from Three Mobile:
What could have just been a mash of viral elements – the nostalgic tune, the enthusiastic animation of the little girl and of course, the singing kitty – ended up a viral sensation. Why? Because Three Mobile tried hard to appeal to as many people as possible and they did.
For something that could quite have easily been viewed as completely contrived and cringe-worthy, Three Mobile managed to pull it off. For me, (someone who’s tired of cats and Guitar Hero-type revivals) it has to be the little girl’s badass delivery. She’s more gangsta than anyone in this office, that’s for sure.
Verdict? Of course, the ultimate in Super Marketing.
Some are making it look easy – but it’s just as easily done wrong. So what’s the trick to getting viral marketing right? I think the key is to be yourself. This goes for all marketing platforms too – not just viral video. Your branding, your website, your social presence should all be a reflection of what your company is all about and who you want to appeal to. If you’re cute, make it fluffy – if you’re funny, crack some jokes. Serious? Then pull at some heart strings.
Attempting to be anything other than what you are in order to keep up with a current trend could end up back-firing and will in fact make you look completely clueless in the process. Fo real Dawg…