Say Something Outrageous – When is a Marketing Risk Worthwhile?

Watch the video first:


We don’t care how it gets broken . . . we’ll be there to fix it. I don’t know if this commercial actually played on TV, but if it did, I’ll bet that AccuServ Copy Repair got a lot of mileage out of it. They probably also really ticked off a few plus-sized ladies, who took umbrage at the not so obscure “select larger paper tray” inference.

When is it worthwhile to take marketing risks?

Sometimes it’s just difficult to resist. Remember the elections of 2000, when George Bush’s narrow victory depended on a recount of paper ballots in Florida. Victory literally depended on “hanging chads,” the minute squares of paper that were supposed to be cleanly punched in the voting machinery. My printing company created a series of radio and print ads to exploit the controversy . . . we claimed that if we had printed the ballots, the electoral crisis would never have happened. We received some irate phone calls from patriots that thought we were unduly irreverent, and people remembered the ad campaign for years.

Deadly Boring Content

Let’s face it. Most of the marketing content we see today is deadly boring. I have stated my ethical case against those horrible pharmaceutical ads in another post, but the fact is they’re also just plain dull. Many small businesses have switched away from traditional media to inbound marketing. It’s not that their advertising efforts were ever that great before, but the quality of content is pretty awful. Many have basically transferred ineffective product advertising from one media channel to another. Here’s an example that I pulled from the Facebook page of a nearby men’s store (who shall remain mercifully unnamed):

Verse 9 Neckties Verse 9 has quickly become one of the most demanded brand names in men’s designer neckwear. With its combination of out of this world designs and superb quality, these neckties are sure to take your ensemble to that next level. Often seen worn on television by celebrities like Roland Martin, and TNT’s Kenny Smith, Verse 9 neckties can play a key role in helping you achieve “The Million Dollar Look”.

Gaaaacccck!  And this entry is typical of everything on the page of this and exactly almost 11,453,263 other small businesses with Facebook pages.  And many of these folks wonder why their content isn’t getting any traction.

What’s the Alternative?

Here’s the practical advice.  Here are a few ideas that can help your content stand out:

  1. stevemartinQuit selling so hard and just tell a story – take notes about the day to day events around you.  Funny customer stories can be a hoot. Listen for the great stories that come your way and retell them in a way that lets people learn about the character of your business.
  2. Use the news – There is no end of opportunity here.  While it’s not wise to get too political or make light of a tragic situation, poking a little fun at current affairs can show you have a sense of humor.
  3. Find a funny image for a sight gag – even if it’s corny, it can be memorable.  Think Steve Martin.
  4. Create a hero – especially if it’s one of your customers.  Talk about the good things things that are happening and be sure to support others in your community.  They’ll remember it.

Entertain, educate, and when you have the opportunity, take a calculated risk.  It’s almost always worth stirring up a few people if you can make an impression on a bunch more.

Need Help With Marketing?

contactbuttonWe’re available to help you with planning, organization and with specific projects. Let us know if you’d like to discuss your business or a project you’re considering. No risk – the first consultation is absolutely free. If you’d like to get in touch, call Richard Dannenberg at 478-719-4029, email to, or click the button, fill out the form, and we’ll contact you!

1 Comment

  1. could use some help in marketing my business