50 Shades of... Smart Marketing
By Eliza Rawlings • 24 Aug 2012
Before I went on holiday last month, a woman colleague highly recommended the novel '50 Shades of Grey' for my holiday read. I received similar recommendations the week before from some other friends. I had not seen such hype about a novel since the Harry Potter series. So I decided to discover for myself what the fuss was about and what made this novel so incredibly successful.
I have now finished the book and my verdict is that it is a classic case of 50 shades of ...smart marketing.
In my opinion, the book is not particularly well written so Dickens and Austen can rest in peace; the plot is not original, but what the book managed to achieve was to popularise a taboo subject, making the topic accessible in an otherwise conservative society. '50 Shades' has succeeded in taking people out of their comfort zone or social norm and made a lot of money in being controversial. Whether the readers love or hate the book, they are talking about it and that is a great marketing engine. There are well known examples of advertisements that have triggered controversial debates and their images remain long lasting in our minds. But how far should marketers take their audience? It is a fine balance, especially in B2B marketing where the audience is primarily professional people; choosing the right shade of grey is essential to ensure the message is memorable without threatening the brand credibility.
We recently faced such a challenge when we made some new product brand videos. We knew that our audience would be business professionals, we could make some traditional product videos where we just presented the product features, but aren't we all a bit bored with that approach? I know I am! So we should step out of the norm, but which shade to go for? In the end, we opted for something a little different - our aim was to inform in an unconventional yet entertaining way, whilst maintaining an appeal for the business audience. Did we hit the mark? Will our videos be memorable and talked about? Time will tell. Here are the links to our new videos - we look forward to everyone's feedback!
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