Filed under: Comment, Communication Strategy, Crap Campaigns In History, Cunning, Embarrassing Moments, Marketing, Marketing Fail, Media
So this is hard for me because it not only involves an agency I like very much – Droga5 – but it also involves a number of personal friends.
So over the past few months, there’s been a campaign for Email marketing platform, MailChimp.
Not that you’d know it, because the campaign has been about creating seemingly random ads for things with names that kind-of sound like MailChimp but never actually say it.
Hence we’ve had all sorts of things like FailChips and SnailPrimps placed all around NYC.
Because when the brand sponsored the hit podcast ‘Serial’, someone in the promo mispronounced the brand as “MailKimp” and Droga5 thought that could be a fun way to advertise the brand.
That’s right, spend a shitload of cash doing a bunch of things that never actually mentions the brand name or relates to what the brand does.
This is how a Mailchimp exec explains it …
“We used mispronunciation as a creative device to inspire all kinds of different executions, knowing that people would be curious about what they were seeing and search for more information”.
Now I accept there is a good chance I might be wrong, but are people that curious?
Do people give a flying fuck about this sort of thing?
Maybe they do, which means I can’t help but wonder how they felt when they discovered what it was really all about.
Were they pissed off they’ve just been part of a marketing scam?
Or maybe they ended up being massively disappointed by what they discovered it all to be about.
Or did they go, “Wow, that’s amazing” and immediately sign up for their service, even if they didn’t need it.
I have a feeling it’s not that likely to be the last option.
Don’t get me wrong, I know people love to ‘discover’ stuff, but I’m not so sure that means they love discovering they’ve just been had.
All of this feels like the people behind the campaign either watched one too many bad spy movies or took Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘tipping point’ a tad too literally.
But it gets worse.
Much worse … because this ‘strategy’ of mispronouncing the brand name – according to the credits released with the campaign – required 7 strategists.
What did they do?
What is the bloody strategy in any of this?
I appreciate that sometimes the biggest insight is there isn’t one … but even then, you don’t need 7 strategists. Hell, even if you were doing a campaign to solve world hunger, you wouldn’t need seven strategists.
WHAT IS GOING ON!?
I love Droga5 and I massively respect my friends who were involved in this campaign, but this all smacks of early dotcom advertising and we know what happened to the majority of those brands.
Actually I’m wrong, because at least those ads focused on people remembering the name.
This isn’t advertising, it’s anti-advertising and while the industry might think that’s something cool and worthy of aspiring too, in the real World – or at least The Guardian – they know it’s a great advertisement for saying our industry has its head up it’s own ass.
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