The recent election was full of useful lessons for marketers. I’m not talking about boring stuff like social media blah, blah, blah or advanced targeting blah, blah, blah. No, I’m talking about some big meta lessons: that truth and lies are the same, bombast is a great substitute for substance, civility is hokum, accepted standards are overrated. Couple these facts with regulatory agencies that will soon be headed by outsiders hostile to their very existence and 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for teen marketers. The question is, will you have the guts to make it happen?
I’ll bet you do! In that case, here are a few pointers on how to make 2017 huge for your brands:
Tell Lies This is so easy to do! All you need to do is say whatever pops into your heads. Marketing a soft drink? Tell people it will make them more attractive. Don’t pussyfoot around, though, be explicit! “The best scientists in the world, they say, these scientists — the best — that Glam-o-Pop will definitely get you laid much more often [see “Be Offensive” below]. Drink it.” See? Simple!
Teens, in particular, will welcome unfounded claims that validate what they wish to be true!
Ignore Facts Let me start by quoting Sir Francis Drake as he defended General Custer after Pearl Harbor: “Facts are stubborn things.” Ha! What a joke. Sure, Sir Francis may have been good at defending red-headed pastry chefs but he clearly knew nothing about facts! They are meaningless! If someone wants to talk about facts, tell them to talk to the hand. Half the time people’s “facts” are nothing more that opinions supported by questionable science. Garbage.
Your teenage customers are already filling their busy little heads with so many useless facts from school; do them a favor and spare them the brain space!
Be Offensive I say offensive in jest. Offensive is in the eye of the offended and if you’re the one doing the so-called “offending,” you probably don’t feel offended at all! No, tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may. There’s no reason not to use common — even earthy — language when describing people, places or situations. We’ve all gotten so circumspect that a change for the worse will still be a refreshing change.
Kids these days, they’ve been led down the primrose path of PC parlance. Enough already!
Make Threats A lot of marketers fall into the trap of trying to persuade customers to try or purchase products. Sure, that’s one approach; but what about the flip side of the coin? Threats and intimidation! Why haven’t more people glommed onto this concept? Using our Glam-o-Pop example from above, think how effective this campaign could be: “Drink Glam-o-Pop or we will kill your family. Seriously.”
Separating the wheat from the chaff is critical; those teens who are easily intimidated may be your very best customers!
Look Backward The future is a scary and uncertain place. You just never know what’s going to happen next. The past, on the other hand, is full of safe, familiar and easy answers, especially when viewed through wonderfully rose-colored glasses! Rather than taxing your creative resources for something new, why not just dust off an old campaign that you know works. Why shouldn’t Joe the Camel make a comeback — and why shouldn’t we be advertising cigarettes to kids anyway?
Nostalgia is a proven winner. Nostalgia. Teens eat it up. It wins. Every time.
Ignore “Experts” What I am giving you is good advice. You can trust me. But be careful. There are going to be plenty of people that will want to give you bad advice. Ignore them. They will tell you the ideas I have shared make no sense. The people who tell you things like that are idiots. There are a lot of them around. They will try to sound smart. Ignore them. They are idiots.
Know who else likes to ignore advice? Teens. Learn something from your audience!
I hope you will reflect on these very sound and sensible ideas over the holidays and put them to work in the new year. If you follow them you will have a truly memorable and successful 2017. Believe me.