One of the dangers of inbound marketing is that it can drive people away from your brand just as easily as it can attract them to you.
1) Use demographic data to determine who your target audience is (or who you want them to be).
2) Create marketing content that attracts and unifies your target demographic around a certain self-image while simultaneously beating everyone else over the head that your brand is not for them.
For example, the new diet drink Dr. Pepper Ten made waves when their ad campaign sought to alienate women (or men who aren’t “manly” enough to drink it). This is similar to an earlier campaign that Pepsi launched for its AMP energy drink, which was also accused of being sexist.
“You need to be edgy and highly creative to get noticed, and tying in something to stir debate is a tactic that is used to get attention,” says Derrick Daye, managing partner of Rochester, New York–based brand consultancy The Blake Project. The danger for the brand, Daye says, is that the drink may become associated with this message, risking AMP’s image not as an energy drink but as a brand that “beats down women.”
Compare these campaigns with those from Old Spice or Dos Equis and you start to notice a subtle difference: while the latter examples are still humorous depictions of what it means to be a “real” man, they make their point with comical exaggerations of competence, rather than pure sexuality or a “no-girls-allowed” treehouse mentality. They win new fans by including their audience in their fantasies, rather than trying to alienate “undesirable” visitors.
In a world where information (and self-identifying markets) spread at the speed of a single click, marketing campaigns that misuse sex and identity as dividing lines rather than unifiers run a serious risk of being stigmatized by everyone who isn’t in their target market — and even the ones who are, since few people will naturally want to identify themselves with a brand that’s known to offend.
If the trick, then, is to be “edgy” without being offensive, we wonder what customers (and critics) will think of Moosejaw’s MoosejawXRAY app, which lets browsers of their digital clothing catalog see through the clothes and check out what the models are (or aren’t) wearing underneath.
It seems a curious choice for Moosejaw to want to draw their customers’ attention away from the clothes themselves. And the app certainly runs the risk of branding Moosejaw as an outdoor company that’s more interested in what happens indoors. (Wink, wink.) But will all that extra attention actually sell more parkas? Or is it a poorly-designed strategy that will quickly be forgotten — and, maybe, for the best?
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