More like Money Boo Boo…Am I right? (Anyone?)

By Troy Walker, Director of Retail Strategy and Local Marketing

Remember the days when networks gave spin-off shows to great characters such as Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and The Brady Brides? (Like anyone would marry Jan. Burn!)

Well, we’d like to introduce you to TLC’s (The Learning Channel’s) spin-off Here Comes Honey Boo Boo—a heartwarming and touching look into the world of being absolutely tasteless. (Double burn!) And as you’ve probably heard by now—it’s a hit (Unburn.)

So, how can marketing folks like us learn from the success of this disaster? Let us pour you a glass of human truth, shall we? As much as we hate to admit it, it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. People just want to feel better about themselves (without “go go juice”) like when we can speak English to English-speaking people, without the subtitles. You feel better, don’t you? Don’t you?!

Here’s a thought: If you really want to help people feel good about themselves, use local marketing to connect with them on a much deeper and intimate level—and avoid trying to reach Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians, and Jersey housewives with one message. It makes people feel like you truly understand them.

Or you can just add English subtitles to commercials where people are only speaking English. You can’t turn away! (Unless, of course, you don’t speak English.)

So you see, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo may be on the bottom rung when it comes to quality TV, but the reason for its success is something to take note of. In addition to taking note of when it’s on, so you can watch something else. Like maybe Tire-Smart Matt?


Lose the ability to slip out of meetings unnoticed


Don’t fall into the online vs. offline trap. All media can and should be experiential and participatory—that is, when you fuse content (message) and context (media) together as one. For proof, look no further than the classic Economist campaign. Instead of talking at their audience—“Hey affluent, well-educated and influential people, read the number one magazine in the world according to the L.A. Times”—The Economist has engaged them by adhering to the 80/20 Rule. (The who?!)
Similar to a great joke, the most impactful marketing ideas only take you 80% of the way. The audience has to go the other 20% to close the loop, fill in the blank, and participate in the solution. If you say too little or try to be too clever and only travel 30-50% the way there, you run the risk of not being relevant. Or mystifying your audience to the point of annoyance—“Wait, come again. What was that ad for? Don’t get us wrong, we love a Phil Collins-drumming gorilla, but how does this sell milk chocolate?!”

On the flip side, if you say too much and try to spell out your strategy in straight, spoon-fed information, you run the risk of . . . zap. Flip. Delete. Unlike. Turn the page. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.  In summary, follow the wisdom of one of the most successful, timeless campaigns. Respect the 80/20 Rule. And give your brand a far greater chance of being remembered, and ultimately, selected. Whether that’s online, offline, shoreline, hairline, any “line,” really. Just don’t confuse channels and tactics for strategies and big ideas—okay, smart guy?


If you’re having trouble closing the loop on this one, let us explain. You see, what Wonderbra is suggesting is…you don’t have to be smart and read The Economist to become a CEO at a very young age. All you have to be is, well, umm…how ’bout that Browns game last night?

NBC: The Internetwork. (See what I did there?)

By Brokaw writer and wacky next door neighbor Aaron McBride

Do you hear that buzz? No, it’s not just the bees being extra mad and stingy because they’re about to die. It’s actually the sound of audiences fluttering in excitement over the new fall TV lineups. Yep, it’s that time of year when the networks are longing for the next Friends (while probably finding the next Joey). And in this all-out sprint to their next hit, NBC is taking a page from the book of Brokaw.

The network is building the relationship between brand and consumer with an engaging social media strategy that includes an interactive website (NBC Live), as well as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram—together, forming a giant “social media Voltron” that even our second cousin Tom Brokaw can’t sleep through on Ambien. (Too soon? Sorry.)
So, now you can watch a mediocre show, while interacting with the mediocre cast! Thanks, technology!
As a result of NBC’s outside-the-box (Flat screen? LCD? Color?) marketing, they were able to stay on top of the ratings for most of this all-important premiere week. And if this keeps working, you could say that NBC has turned engaging their audience with social media into a fine art. Right, Rembrandt?
Now, if only they could develop a relatable and wildly popular office show—you know, like my web series Man In The Box (N.S.F.W).

The power of connecting emotionally

We have a little saying around the office: “People remember one-third of what they read, one-half of what they hear, but 100% of what they feel.” If we can glue our message with an emotional, contextually-relevant “human truth,” we have a far greater chance of being remembered, and ultimately, selected.

A human what?!

A human truth is a unique, untapped consumer insight. It reminds people of their habits, beliefs, desires, hopes, fears, dreams, etc. And when done correctly, it causes your target to think, “This brand gets me,” or “That is so true,” or… “I need to share this with all of my friends immediately.”

Which is demonstrated by our infamous Browns jersey or this national PSA we did for the American Ad Council 11 years ago. (We just learned this past week it’s going to be a permanent fixture at the 9/11 Memorial located at Ground Zero, opening June 2013.) Proof, the most impactful marketing doesn’t just capture your attention. It captures your heart.