The Rise of Brands Being…”Inappropriate”

Definitely read at your own risk, since this piece by Nathan Allebach of Steak-umm is by its very nature a little racy…

(It also includes a recent naughty Tweet from this #social-bites contributor!)

What do you think of this trend?

a. Makes sense; social media SHOULD be less formal than traditional brand communications

b. Depends on if it fits with the existing brand voice and audience

c. Needlessly alienating and offensive to broader audiences

d. Trying too hard to get attention; sad

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I’m somewhere between B and C. “If you think it fits your brand, you’re wrong 9 times out of 10.”

Most of what I see out there is cringeworthy. It’s rare it fits a brand, and even more rare to see it executed properly.

While it’s nice to think it’s not all about the money, these antics with no real performance metric aren’t really building any type of power or awareness. 24-hr news cycle in a hot topic segment doesn’t count.

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Yep. I can think of an example for each:

  • A few years ago, Pabst Blue Ribbon had a pretty lowbrow tweet that went viral (I forget what it was)…but they’re PBR. It’s for frat boys. It fit.
  • Last year, Daily Harvest decided to get sassy (not “horny” per se; they went for “mean roast,” like Wendy’s) and it just didn’t fit. Why would a healthy meal delivery service be so dang saucy? (Would up being moot, since they then had a massive recall disaster on their hands, so they had to shift back to being about support…but it was a weird moment.)

I interviewed Adrian Molina of Aviation Gin a couple of years ago about Branding With Humor, and about how to watch where that line is. They’re super good at being edgy without ever punching down or getting the wrong kind of uncomfortable. It’s an art and a science.

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See, I’m between c and d here. Ultimately, this type of communication is just not for me and if it’s too much, I “go find less” (as the wise Elyse Meyers says) and unfollow the brand. I hadn’t already seen some of what was referenced in the article, but I’m with you in that so much is cringe. So many are off-putting and gratuitous.

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B. And these are TAME, folks. Go hang out on any Discord server with folks from Gen Z and Gen A and be prepared with some brain bleach. Obviously, a lot of what regular people talk about isn’t brand appropriate at all, but what’s happening is that brands are (slowly) following where their audiences are going.

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The question becomes: are we devolving into being less civilized, or are we evolving beyond archaic notions of propriety? :wink:

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One person’s “civilization” is another person’s oppression of identity. In the end, the rules of society are what we collectively say they are, and as marketers, those rules are very often dictated by our customers.

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