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How Brands are Exploiting Outrage Culture (Woke Advertising)

How Brands are Exploiting Outrage Culture (Woke Advertising)


Perhaps nothing is more American
than profiteering on outreach. Would you buy Corn Flakes over
Lucky Charms if they were pro gun? How about a premium three piece business
suit from an antiabortion fashion brand? It might sound outrageous to buy things
off a company stance on social issues, but it’s not far from the type of
advertising that’s been trending recently. Whether you care about
pro choice or pro life, pro gun or anti gun or
even identity politics, brands have discovered a new way to
leverage these controversial social issues and get you to open your
wallets and your mouth. My name is Christian Martin and today
we’re going to look at a new trend in today’s marketing world called
woke advertising or wokenomics. It might be a silly name, but it rolls off the tongue easier
than outrage-based market profiteering. In this video, we’re going to break down why running a
woke ad campaigns can be worth the risk, how it can completely fail and what
we can learn from it as marketers, let’s dive in.
Marketers, brands and businesses can hijack almost
anything for their own personal gain. With the rise of outrage culture where
people take to social media to be angry about just about anything, Marketers have found a way to take over
these conversations and build brand awareness. Of course they have.
Welcome to woke advertising. Woke advertising is when companies and
brands align with your stance on social issues to get you to buy from them
and aligned with their brand over the competition. Pretty Dirty, Huh? In theory, there’s nothing wrong with spreading a
positive message in order to sell stuff right? Or wrong. Let me
explain. Once upon a time, ads were actually about the
product and even light hearted. They were informative and each brand
appeal to a very specific demographic or what we call a Customer Avatar. An avatar is simply a
fictional representation of
your brand’s ideal customer. This usually includes things
like their goals and values. Where do they get their news,
what magazines they read, and the demographics of your customer.
Things like age, location, gender, occupation,
the usual. We also want to look at their
challenges and their pain points. Then we’re going to look at
objections and their roles in society. So for example, Windex might create ads aimed towards
stay at home Moms who watch daytime television and have a problem
removing streaks off their mirrors. You’ll find Mr Clean,
Lysol, and similar cleaning products
targeting the same Customer Avatar. Or how about typical ads for dudes who
would most likely enjoy a Carl’s Jr $13 Burger ads starting the beautiful Kate
Upton eye-humping you as she gets messy downing a Southwest Patty Melt.
To be honest with you, I’d buy a $75 burger with ketchup and
glass shards if I thought it would get Kate Upton to pop out of
a car and eye-hump me. But as the audience begins to see the
same style of ad thousands of times, they get a form of banner blindness where
mental opt out or they subconsciously tune these ads out. I’m sure you can relate and eventually
people stopped watching the ants. Eric Silver, Mccann’s North American
chief creative officer says: advertising is what happens on TV
when people go to the bathroom. Brands had to find a way to get people
to stay during commercial and not just use it to throw another set
of pizza rolls in the oven. After getting hip to
consumers ignoring them, Brands became more experimental with
their commercials. Brands like old spice, squatty potty and poo-pourri set a new
standard for unexpected and absurdist style advertising. These ads were fresh,
They were funny and they were aware. They kept you engaged
throughout the commercial. But as more and more brands start
using the same style of ads, we begin to see the same pattern
of mental opt out. So sure, seeing a unicorn poop out froyo
grabs our attention today. But if more and more companies start using
animals pooping out rainbows to shock you, I shutter to think of what will be
necessary to get viewers to say, wow, did they really just show that? Let’s go back to 2014 when
something really bizarre happened. Coca Cola came out with an ad during
the Super Bowl that’s sparked more controversy than expected. The ad starts
with the song: America the Beautiful. As the song continues, it’s sung in
other languages like Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi. The ad showed vignettes of multicultural
families gathering for dinner, Kids in all of the outdoors surrounding
their campsite or a group of friends enjoying street food. It’s actually really typical of
coke to create these kinds of ads. They can be traced back to their famous
1971 ad depicting a multicultural America enjoying a crisp bottle of coke. But 1971 was a far
different America than 2014. the age of social media polarizing our
political beliefs changed the landscape on how Americans consume
and react to media. So Coke’s ad meant to share
our similarities and values
was now being seen as anti-American and pro immigration. It was being seen as
taking a social stance. So #boycottcoke #speakAmerican begin
trending as a form of backlash protest– shaking my head.
But did the boycott work? Are people ready to dump their 24 pack
of coke straight down the sink and announced Pepsi as the number
one preferred brand over coke? Because coke misalign themselves with
what these people would call the liberal snowflakes. No coke stock has been as strong as
ever since that ad aired and the boycott ultimately fizzled out. So what does this
mean for advertising? By mere accident, Coke became the perfect case study of
what is now considered woke advertising or wokevertising or woke
economics or wokenonomics.
However you want to label it, This has sparked a new trend to not
just get people to watch your ad, but to make it go viral.
What used to be safe, boring, good valued messaging has now become
fodder to dividing beliefs in America. And of course, advertisers are
capitalizing on this opportunity. Nothing is more American
than profiteering on outrage. Marketers found now that if you truly
want to stand out with your ads, you need to do two important things. Number one is you have
to spark conversation. And number two is you have to be
controversial and polarize it. Seeing the major success
that coke received from this
ad in 2017 Pepsi’s set out to use the same formula.
Now during this time, the black lives matter and all lives
matter protests we’re trending nationwide. Pepsi decided to coopt this issue by
showing imagery of young attractive protesters on the streets smiling
and high fiving each other. It was meant to be inclusive
like the coke commercial. It was multicultural in its feeling,
but also American at the same time. Protestors held signs with nonspecific
messaging like join the conversation and peace sign. Now, they didn’t blatantly
say black lives matter in the ad, otherwise it would have been too specific.
Pepsi kept it safe, but borrowed the imagery from the protest
to allude to the real life protest and of course it wouldn’t be a Pepsi
commercial without a popular celebrity. So they had Kendall
Jenner in the ad as well. Now they could have used Caitlyn Jenner, but they probably didn’t want
to go too nuts, no pun intended. The climax of the commercial
showed Kendall Jenner
walking up to a barricade of anti riot cops and sharing a can of
ice cold unity-filled Pepsi and then a pause. We see the faces of the protesters
with bated breath. As we hear that, La-Chingg~! sound of an opened Pepsi
can. The cops drink the nectar of peace. Everyone cheers. The protesters, the
cops, everyone is United. America! USA! What’s the message?
Buy Pepsi. Easy, right? I’m sure that the executives were patting
themselves on the back for This one, it had everything a woke advertisement
could need. How could it go wrong? It went very wrong. Pepsi received
immense outrage for this commercial. They were accused of being tone
deaf to the reality of the protest. Even Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr
spoke out against what Pepsi was doing. She posted a picture on
Twitter with the captions: If only daddy would have known
about the power of #Pepsi. The Ad itself has 13 million views and
165,000 dislikes versus 43,000 likes. People seriously hated this
app and with this much outrage, Pepsi surely lost market share in
the good graces of its consumers, but wait a second, it didn’t,
which genuinely shocked me. Pepsi’s brand image actually improved
and their stock price was unaffected. After the ad was aired,
Morning Consult, a data and survey research company
surveyed over 2000 adults regarding the polarizing Pepsi ad. Specifically 44% surveyed saw the brand
in a more favorable light versus 20% who didn’t seem to care and about 25%
thought more negatively of the soft drink giant. The ad also resonated equally well with
African Americans with 51% saying it paints Pepsi in a more favorable light. Despite of the accusations that Pepsi’s
commercials downplayed the black lives matter protests, Brand awareness
just went up. Angry or not, Pepsi won. And this is the thing about wokenomics
and the exploitation of social issues, ethical implications aside, maybe the saying there’s no such thing
as bad publicity is actually true. Last year, Pepsi took that same blueprint and
released an ad showing a race riot for Jennifer Anniston throws a can of Pepsi
through a car window. No, I’m kidding. They didn’t do that. I wanted to
make sure you’re paying attention. Taking the same approach as Pepsi. Nike created a campaign that
seemed unassuming on the surface. In 2018 Nike announced that
Colin Kaepernick, an NFL player, infamous for taking a knee during the
national anthem would help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the brand’s
Iconic slogan, just do it. Included in this campaign where
Serena Williams and Odell Beckham Jr., Just to name a few. The ad is black and white
and it’s a closeup of
Kaepernick’s face with the words believe in something,
even if it means sacrificing everything. This is a reference to Kaepernick’s
lawsuit against the NFL for allegedly colluding to keep the former San Francisco
49er’s quarterback out of the league over his defiance during the national
anthem to publicly protest against police brutality. The move struck a nerve
erupting in a Twitterstorm of outrage. Even though Kaepernick’s protest
was against police brutality, many took this protest as disrespect
to the u s military police officers and even the flag itself. Nike became public enemy number one as
#boycottNike was trending all throughout the Internet.
People were burning their Nike Shoes. There were literally destroying things
they’ve already spent money on to make a point.
It’s crazy. Now what’s even crazier is that Nike
boycott actually affected Nike… By making them $6 billion. Way To go Nike
haters, you fell for the ultimate trap. Why don’t you go take a knee?
Every time a brand takes a stand, money is being made for better or worse. When you become outraged
about a particular brand
and broadcast it on social media,
you become part of the advertising, you have successfully built reach and
engagement for the brand and you’re strengthening the support
of the brand’s position. It’s genius or it’s evil or both. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which one
and it depends where you stand on the issue. Gillette did the same thing with
their recent controversial ad campaign. They took a very strong stance against
toxic masculinity despite the flood of negative comments on Youtube
with commentors declaring
“Guess who won’t buy your overpriced razors now? Their stock rose 6% after Joe Rogan
and news outlets criticized the ad. I mean seriously, this video has 1.4 million dislikes on
Youtube and the stock just keeps going up. I bring all these examples up because the
rise of woke advertising is very real. “The woke business strategy will be a
big theme in 2019 since that’s where the money is,” says Scott Galloway, founder of the business research firm
Gartner L2 and a professor of marketing at New York University
Stern School of business. More brands will definitely take a
stab at woke advertising because many customers want to see strong stands on
politically charged topics like race, immigration, LGBT rights,
guns and the environment. No longer are we just advertising to a
demographic based on their gender, age, roles, society, how much money they
make and where they’re located. Smart marketers are looking into their
psychographics: what their values are, what they’re interested in, their
characteristics, their personalities, what their lifestyle’s like and
their stance on social issues. These new ads are saying, my brand has a message and we have an
actual stance on issues affecting your country. If you share a
stance, buy our stuff. How these new ads actually
work is basically: my brand has a message and we have an
actual stance on issues affecting America. If you share a stance, share it with
support or share with disgust, either way, get our name out there. It doesn’t matter
to us. Like all things advertising, this trend will eventually
become overplayed, but in 2019 it looks
like it’s here to stay. So remember to use Wokenomics
or Woke advertising, Co-opt a controversial issue that aligns
with your brand and spark conversation around it. Just be ready for the backlash if
you’re doing it just for the attention. If you don’t truly believe in what
you’re saying and your commandeering and important social issue for
personal or brand gain, expect an outpouring of disgust
from the public. Unfortunately, this might not actually be bad for sales
in today’s current outrage culture. Next time you see an ad that offends
you or doesn’t align with your belief system, what’s the best way to show
your disgust? Do Nothing. Remember that! That will show them. So what do you think
about woke advertising? As you can tell, I have mixed feelings about it.
I’m curious to know your opinion: is an exploitative to the real issues?
Are you for it? Are you against it? Is there real merit for brands
to take a stance on these issues? Are they relevant in brand conversations? Who does it right and
who should be condemned? If you want to learn more
about how to build a brand, create effective social media ads
and experiment with Woke advertising. Check out my free training in the
description below. I’m Christian Martin, this has been my take on woke advertising.
Hit the like button. Subscribe down below for more
marketing breakdowns like this one, or if you think this was offensive
and my message is off base. Let everyone know by sharing with all
your friends. Thanks for watching. I will see you next time.

5 thoughts on “How Brands are Exploiting Outrage Culture (Woke Advertising)

  1. If you love to piss people off, marketing can be an amazing career choice.
    Thanks for watching, don't forget to subscribe if you thought this video was helpful!
    Full blog and everything I teach is right here: http://bit.ly/2GsJwg9

  2. Even though it appears that woke advertising works only on progressives or liberals, the truth is… woke advertising is nothing more than just taking a stance as a brand. So you can be opposite of woke and use facebook ads to target your more conservative audience to achieve the same effect. Hell, I'd point those targeted ads to liberals and THEM spread the message lol

  3. Awesome video, get's the gears turning. People do engage more with polarizing content, as opposed to things we can all agree on (which are few). This increases ad revenue and, therefore, much of social media has been admittedly designed with polarization in mind. How often do you see apolitical positive messages on facebook or the news? These days everything is so polarized that I think a positive ad focused on overcoming differences would be rebellious and controversial, but perhaps more constructive. (Think Old Town Road) I'm not sure if society is sick enough of getting their beliefs affirmed yet for an ad that bridges the gap to be successful, but I would like to try this in the future once people start going from woke to exhausted.

  4. Just found your channel and subscribed! Great video on a very interesting topic.. one thing I notice.. it seems pretty much all woke-vertising aligns with far-left values. Can you think of any examples of this polarizing strategy with a conservative lean?

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