Big. In your face. Unapologetic. An edge provides a golden opportunity for marketing: it’s a call for attention. Now, whether people roll their eyes and click away or pass it onto their friends is something that takes some planning.
While catching the consumer’s eye is the foundation of successful, edgy marketing, you need to make sure that it can hold their attention, and now more than ever, engage them. Edginess is especially useful for helping startups stand out from the crowd or helping brand products go viral. Edgy videos, graphics, photos, apps, contests and overall campaigns should be unexpected and memorable. But they can easily overboard and result in outrage, offensiveness, and ends in a burst of flames and dead ambassadors. There’s a fine line between edginess and just plain offensiveness.
1. Brand Name
A crazy name can go a long way, especially with viral marketing, to create a buzz around the company. Companies like “Big Ass Fans” have generated great amounts of exposure because their name is shocking but most importantly, they have a story behind their name. Without a history, the flashy title just looks like a cheap ploy for attention, and won’t hold consumer interest.
2. Guerrilla Marketing
Think The Blair Witch Project. A fake website spreading the myth of the Blair Witch became a hit on the internet, many believing it to be true, and translated into hundreds of millions at the box office. If successful, consumers don’t react negatively to the bait and switch. Guerilla marketing, when successful, is a golden opportunity for going viral. Not only does it give advertisers the chance to use some really creative means, as well as letting consumers interact with their ideas, messages, and even products. The high levels of engagement means the amount of returned interest can be astronomical.
A brand that can make fun of itself is one that consumers can appreciate. Humor allows consumers to feel like they’re in on the joke rather than just moving targets for advertisers. “The Unitard” for VacationRental.org is an example of advertising that is subversive by making the hero of the commercial awkward, bumbling, and ultimately unhelpful to the family in the commercial. Though proceed with caution, nuance is the key. In “The Unitard,” the humor isn’t directed at the product that they are selling-something that makes viewers and consumers feel awkward watching-but the branding. Going after the product is not going to help sell it but a light-hearted take or spoof on an aspect of the branding or the situation will win consumers over.
Shareability is one of the most important parts of any campaign, especially as we move further and further into the digital realm. Once the edginess is present, it needs to spread in order to stay relevant, and engage people. Targeting social media websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest etc. will help not only catch the eyes of consumers, but the rest of their network when they forward the content. Edgy content shares better because its provocations act as engagers. If one consumer sees content or branding that is novel, they are more likely to pass it down their networks. People are attracted to new ideas, especially when they are considered more “out there” than the traditional ideas, and this is crucial to remember when applied to viral advertising.
5. Don’t Overload
It’s tempting to be in-their-faces around the clock, but seriously, stop. Not only is it annoying to consumers, but it also makes your brand or business look desperate and out of touch. As digital marketing relies more and more on customer interaction, you have to rely on developing and executing a campaign that will be shared by consumers instead of showing the advertisers at work. Be tricky. Don’t be so obvious.
Edginess takes authenticity and creativity to really have an effect on people. The idea that all press is good is definitely not a rule at play with this kind of marketing. These extra steps of planning will come off as relatable, witty, and relevant rather than another pushy brand overusing what they believe is shock value when its just plain desperation.