Bathroom Humour: From Taboo to Tactical

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Not too long ago, when a lady would need to go to the bathroom, she would shyly excuse herself to “powder her nose”. Because even though everyone’s doing it, what happened behind closed doors in the bathroom was viewed as intimate and never to be mentioned. Times have changed.

So, rather than skirting around the perfectly natural side-effects of being human, companies are embracing these previously unmentionables with full-force.

Take for example Febreze’s witty commercial. Their product is meant to deodorize and there’s no better place for it to excel at its purpose than in a freshly visited bathroom. Forget last night’s smell of cooked meatloaf in the kitchen, Febreze is ready for the heavy-duty combat.

It’s reminiscent of PooPourri’s no holds barred campaign from a few years back. At least a deodorizer can be repositioned for another room with somewhat believable success. But PooPourri was only developed for one thing – there isn’t an alternative use to highlight. And, rightfully so, their advertising department jumped right in.

So, how does a marketer scale back the crudeness? As with most things, humour tempers the harsh. It’s best to avoid gratuitous vulgarity altogether. That will appeal to only a few. Laughter, however, is always welcome. The comedic approach, especially one which is directed at something crass yet harmless, is sure to mitigate the awkward.

Everybody poops. It never smells great. These and other products were created to improve the surrounding atmosphere when (not if) that happens. It would be a shame if instead of being able to market their functions and benefits, companies had to pretend with fluffy white cats in wicker baskets, and hope that consumers figure it out on their own. As a society, that’s just not who we are anymore. Point to the point, fearlessly, and advertise with chutzpah.

Morty Silber, CEO

Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner

Everyone Loves a Good Comeback

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Bad product, bad decision, bad press. Any one of those is enough to destroy a company. It takes a lot of factors and compounded effort to architect a reputation and only one misstep to quickly unravel it all.

But brands can and have rebuilt. There are many cases where a company has climbed back from failure and rebounded to be stronger than before. Why? Because people are innately forgiving, and everyone loves a good comeback.

Think of a star athlete. It seems whenever they are at the top of their game, the public and media thirst to find chinks in the armour. Now, should that same athlete rally back to greatness, the same critics will turn into supporters. We all admire resilience and cheer on tenacity.

There’s no shortage of businesses that have gone from rags to riches to rags and back to riches. Apple, General Motors, Lego, Polaroid, even Starbucks are just a few of the many examples.

Another impressive one is Martha Stewart who in 2004, went from being the “it” brand of the home empire to a convicted criminal. She has since ascended her way back to glory.

In case anyone needs a refresher, an article on Oprah.com notes, "After a highly publicized trial, Martha was found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to federal investigators about a stock sale. She spent five months in federal prison and another six months under house arrest.”

Just 5 years later, she was more successful than ever. Her image was fully restored, her products were flying off the shelves, and she was once again regarded as the queen of domestic bliss. So, what’s the secret?

As with most things, good marketing goes a long way.

The first step is to sincerely and publicly acknowledge the mistake(s). Consumers have no tolerance for buck-passing scapegoating, or excuses. Also, people are intuitive and can see through disingenuous and phony rhetoric.

The second step is learning from the mistakes and committing to improvement. Again, the more exposed and candid the better. We live in a society where oversharing is valued. Where people love to rally behind the underdog. Leverage this to recruit sympathy and support.

Third, after sufficient remorse has been expressed and the proper penance has been paid (usually a hefty financial loss and wide-spread humiliation), a commanding rebranding must take place. It needs to reposition the products and services, hopefully with the addition of a new-and-improved roster of offerings.

The advertising campaign that ensues must be aggressive and shine a bright light on the rebirth of the company. In the eyes of the consumer, the messaging must lead to a separation between the previous poisoned brand, and the new revised version. And the nostalgia from the once-loved original brand that fell from grace will permeate through and transfer onto the fresh legacy that’s rising from the ashes.

Morty Silber, CEO

Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner

 

Members Only

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(Controversially) Targeting a Tribe

It caused shockwaves throughout the marketing world. Mike Jeffries, who was the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch at the time, openly declared that their company refused to market or sell clothes for women who need a size XL or above. If the message wasn't blatant enough, he stood by it and reiterated his decision by saying, "We want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that."

So, in case there was any ambiguity, although popular estimates indicate that more than 60% of North Americans are overweight, Abercrombie & Fitch is only interested in dressing the 40% who are not.

Most businesses want to cast the widest net possible. However, there are some companies that simply don’t care. Their brand is for a chosen few, and everyone who doesn’t jive with their branding is (strongly) encouraged to go elsewhere.

The payoff? Protecting an image and building an alliance. Lululemon decided their clique would exclude anyone larger than a size 12, and if they had it their way, no one above a size 10 would don their brand. As reported by the Huffington Post, employees were asked to “hide” all double-digit sizes.

Thus, someone is no longer just purchasing a product - they are granted admittance into a club. And just the mere idea of being given access entices would-be consumers. It’s no longer about wearing a brand, it becomes a uniform for a tribe.

Of course, the marketing of this exclusivity permits companies to charge more. Often, they easily subsidize the loss in market-share for their unwillingness to waiver on their identity. An article from Hallie Marks on Bust sums it up perfectly:

"The reason companies like Lululemon (a trendy yoga apparel company) can charge 98 dollars for a pair of yoga pants is because people buy into the image they are selling."

This method, also known as niche marketing, works because of the simple, fundamental principle that everyone just wants to belong. Ramona Sukhraj explains in her piece on Impact, "It is human nature to want to find a group of people you just click with; to find your tribe, so to speak, and in modern marketing, this need can be an invaluable asset to growing a business and loyal fanbase."

If a business decides to only cater to an image, they are within their rights to do so. Sure, there may be some consequential lost revenue and public backlash from people excluded from their tribe. However, it can develop into an advantageous following of loyal consumers, willing to pay a premium for products, and proud to represent and display their membership privileges for all to distinguish.

Morty Silber, CEO

Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner

Going Deep with Morty Silber

An Interview with the CEO This weeks article was written by Diana Jordan. -- I started working with Morty this past September. Even from our earliest email exchanges, I could tell he wasn’t the typical CEO. His passion for his profession and clients was infectious, and I quickly realized I had aligned myself with something rare. The weeks that followed indulged a deeper discovery of the man behind Mad Strategies. At every opportunity, I peppered him with questions that allowed me to learn more about him and better focus my lens. In the process, it sparked my idea that others would also benefit from knowing these charming fun facts. Alas, after some MMA style arm-twisting, I convinced him to let me share them on his blog.  DJ:               So, who would play you in the movie of your life? MS:              Nathan Fillion, I especially liked him in the movie Serenity. DJ:               Who has been the most pivotal person in your life’s journey? MS:              That’s a tough one. I have a few. Other than my wife and children, I’d have to say my mother, who taught me to be kind; my father who taught me to be thoughtful and thorough; and Roy Williams who taught me what marketing really is. DJ:               Professionally speaking, what was your biggest game-changing moment? MS:              On break from University, I was on vacation and was looking for something to read. I came across Roy’s book, “The Secret Formula of the Wizard of Ads”, and that was it. My career’s trajectory became crystal clear. DJ:               What was the most valuable business advice you ever received? MS:              My dad would say “Pull, don’t push.” Don’t force things. Picture an industrial line where the people in front of you are waiting on you to get something done. That pressure makes you feel compelled to do something because the person ahead is depending on you. It’s a powerful reaction, caused by will and energy, rather than force. Marketing is the same concept. DJ:               What was your greatest lesson or mistake? MS:              Not letting go of bad people, and certainly not getting rid of them quickly enough. DJ:               What was your scariest business moment? MS:              When I was operating my clothing business I was deceived by a partner. Poor production and delivery caused me to work over time to be able to deliver to the customer. I barely covered my costs (and underwent tremendous stress). In the end, the important thing was that I delivered and never worked with that person again. DJ:               When did you know you had arrived? MS:              I’m not sure if I have – I’m still looking for that feeling. I think it may always be a work in progress. DJ:               What would the title of your autobiography be? MS:              “More Stubborn than Smart.” DJ:               Ever had a near-death experience? MS:              Not yet. Hopefully never. DJ:               What’s the one piece of business advice you would give to your younger self? MS:              It sounds cliché, but it’s so simple and true: Always trust your intuition; believe in your instincts because you’re wiser than you think. DJ:               Who would you pick to have dinner with, if you could pick anyone dead or alive? MS:              Because I am an event producer, I would jump at the opportunity to sit with a set designer named Es Devlin. I would use the dinner to pick her brain and collect as much industry insight as I could. DJ:               How would you spend your last day on earth? MS:              This one would absolutely be with my wife and kids. Nothing fancy; I’d just want us all together, hanging out in the living room. DJ:               Finally, what is the one thing you wish your customers knew about you? MS:              That I really care about them. That I’m genuinely and completely invested in their success. DJ:               I’m glad I saved the best for last! Thanks for your candor.

An Interview with the CEO

This weeks article was written by Diana Jordan.

--

I started working with Morty this past September. Even from our earliest email exchanges, I could tell he wasn’t the typical CEO. His passion for his profession and clients was infectious, and I quickly realized I had aligned myself with something rare. The weeks that followed indulged a deeper discovery of the man behind Mad Strategies.

At every opportunity, I peppered him with questions that allowed me to learn more about him and better focus my lens. In the process, it sparked my idea that others would also benefit from knowing these charming fun facts. Alas, after some MMA style arm-twisting, I convinced him to let me share them on his blog. 

DJ:               So, who would play you in the movie of your life?

MS:              Nathan Fillion, I especially liked him in the movie Serenity.

DJ:               Who has been the most pivotal person in your life’s journey?

MS:              That’s a tough one. I have a few. Other than my wife and children, I’d have to say my mother, who taught me to be kind; my father who taught me to be thoughtful and thorough; and Roy Williams who taught me what marketing really is.

DJ:               Professionally speaking, what was your biggest game-changing moment?

MS:              On break from University, I was on vacation and was looking for something to read. I came across Roy’s book, “The Secret Formula of the Wizard of Ads”, and that was it. My career’s trajectory became crystal clear.

DJ:               What was the most valuable business advice you ever received?

MS:              My dad would say “Pull, don’t push.” Don’t force things. Picture an industrial line where the people in front of you are waiting on you to get something done. That pressure makes you feel compelled to do something because the person ahead is depending on you. It’s a powerful reaction, caused by will and energy, rather than force. Marketing is the same concept.

DJ:               What was your greatest lesson or mistake?

MS:              Not letting go of bad people, and certainly not getting rid of them quickly enough.

DJ:               What was your scariest business moment?

MS:              When I was operating my clothing business I was deceived by a partner. Poor production and delivery caused me to work over time to be able to deliver to the customer. I barely covered my costs (and underwent tremendous stress). In the end, the important thing was that I delivered and never worked with that person again.

DJ:               When did you know you had arrived?

MS:              I’m not sure if I have – I’m still looking for that feeling. I think it may always be a work in progress.

DJ:               What would the title of your autobiography be?

MS:              “More Stubborn than Smart.”

DJ:               Ever had a near-death experience?

MS:              Not yet. Hopefully never.

DJ:               What’s the one piece of business advice you would give to your younger self?

MS:              It sounds cliché, but it’s so simple and true: Always trust your intuition; believe in your instincts because you’re wiser than you think.

DJ:               Who would you pick to have dinner with, if you could pick anyone dead or alive?

MS:              Because I am an event producer, I would jump at the opportunity to sit with a set designer named Es Devlin. I would use the dinner to pick her brain and collect as much industry insight as I could.

DJ:               How would you spend your last day on earth?

MS:              This one would absolutely be with my wife and kids. Nothing fancy; I’d just want us all together, hanging out in the living room.

DJ:               Finally, what is the one thing you wish your customers knew about you?

MS:              That I really care about them. That I’m genuinely and completely invested in their success.

DJ:               I’m glad I saved the best for last! Thanks for your candor.

An Interview with the CEO

This weeks article was written by Diana Jordan.

--

I started working with Morty this past September. Even from our earliest email exchanges, I could tell he wasn’t the typical CEO. His passion for his profession and clients was infectious, and I quickly realized I had aligned myself with something rare. The weeks that followed indulged a deeper discovery of the man behind Mad Strategies.

At every opportunity, I peppered him with questions that allowed me to learn more about him and better focus my lens. In the process, it sparked my idea that others would also benefit from knowing these charming fun facts. Alas, after some MMA style arm-twisting, I convinced him to let me share them on his blog. 

DJ:               So, who would play you in the movie of your life?

MS:              Nathan Fillion, I especially liked him in the movie Serenity.

DJ:               Who has been the most pivotal person in your life’s journey?

MS:              That’s a tough one. I have a few. Other than my wife and children, I’d have to say my mother, who taught me to be kind; my father who taught me to be thoughtful and thorough; and Roy Williams who taught me what marketing really is.

DJ:               Professionally speaking, what was your biggest game-changing moment?

MS:              On break from University, I was on vacation and was looking for something to read. I came across Roy’s book, “The Secret Formula of the Wizard of Ads”, and that was it. My career’s trajectory became crystal clear.

DJ:               What was the most valuable business advice you ever received?

MS:              My dad would say “Pull, don’t push.” Don’t force things. Picture an industrial line where the people in front of you are waiting on you to get something done. That pressure makes you feel compelled to do something because the person ahead is depending on you. It’s a powerful reaction, caused by will and energy, rather than force. Marketing is the same concept.

DJ:               What was your greatest lesson or mistake?

MS:              Not letting go of bad people, and certainly not getting rid of them quickly enough.

DJ:               What was your scariest business moment?

MS:              When I was operating my clothing business I was deceived by a partner. Poor production and delivery caused me to work over time to be able to deliver to the customer. I barely covered my costs (and underwent tremendous stress). In the end, the important thing was that I delivered and never worked with that person again.

DJ:               When did you know you had arrived?

MS:              I’m not sure if I have – I’m still looking for that feeling. I think it may always be a work in progress.

DJ:               What would the title of your autobiography be?

MS:              “More Stubborn than Smart.”

DJ:               Ever had a near-death experience?

MS:              Not yet. Hopefully never.

DJ:               What’s the one piece of business advice you would give to your younger self?

MS:              It sounds cliché, but it’s so simple and true: Always trust your intuition; believe in your instincts because you’re wiser than you think.

DJ:               Who would you pick to have dinner with, if you could pick anyone dead or alive?

MS:              Because I am an event producer, I would jump at the opportunity to sit with a set designer named Es Devlin. I would use the dinner to pick her brain and collect as much industry insight as I could.

DJ:               How would you spend your last day on earth?

MS:              This one would absolutely be with my wife and kids. Nothing fancy; I’d just want us all together, hanging out in the living room.

DJ:               Finally, what is the one thing you wish your customers knew about you?

MS:              That I really care about them. That I’m genuinely and completely invested in their success.

DJ:               I’m glad I saved the best for last! Thanks for your candor.