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Your Brand is Bland: How to Play the Provocateur

Updated March 9, 2015
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Your brand is bland - provacative advertisements

Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

Let your freak flag fly.

Everyone’s normal until you get to know them. So why are so many people and companies projecting a public image that is neutered, void of emotion, boring? Whether you feel like life is better when your public image needs to be professional, there’s something to be said about sensational and dramatic pageantry in advertisements. I think the brands that show a quirkiness to them are relatable in a very human way. We love a sticky idea, and every story is better with a novel premise. Here are some ad campaigns and personal image experiments that are compelling, interesting and memorable. I think we can all learn from some of the sensibilities they demonstrate.

 Don’t be afraid to tell your story in a way that challenges the power that be.

This ad Moonbot Studios who makes incredible Animated Short Features, pits a sole scarecrow against the powerful mechanical world mass producing artificial food in a cruel way. The story takes the sentimental tone but ascues the 30 second format for a longer video that has elements that call to mind the elements of storytelling popularized by Pixar. These elements make the video eminently watchable and it’s somewhat counterintuitive that a brand could tell a story in this way that makes it something you want to show your friends.

Don’t be afraid to do stuff that may or may not be mildly illegal

What opens up for you if you don’t know whether or something will get you in trouble with the law? I’m not saying anything that could harm someone, but you know, that harmless stuff that people will wonder if it’s legal or not. Dominoes took a bit of a risk by employing marketing forward thinkers Green Graffiti.

Creative, Innovative Marketing

By creating a huge stencil and pressure washing only the advertisement that was stenciled, Green Graffiti created a buzz-worthy, ec0-friendly way to spread the word without buying ad space. You might say it’s a bit risky, but that is what all of these campaign’s have in common, a fresh take on the occasionally boring world of marketing.


Associate yourself with luxury, even if it’s with a hint of satire.

I recently finished a lovely book entitled, “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff, and in it he talks about how the human psyche is configured in such a way that it has a visceral reaction to seeing luxury items. He talks about how displaying well-photographed luxury Jet planes in his pitch for an airline helped rev up the engines in the minds of the people viewing his presentation. Of course for him this was appropriate, but there’s other ways to show off some luxury in spreading word about your idea. This DirectTV Ad takes a service not usually associated with a high-end luxury item and plays off the imagery associated with opulence, for fun results.

To take an element of the playfulness, eccentricity of these brands only takes a bit of consideration of how you can “open up your cupboard of strange trinkets.” Be honest with the world, because baby you’re a firework.

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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, an SEO and Web Design company focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses, roofers and construction companies.

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