Monthly Archives: December 2014

My Greatest Hits 2014

Last day at work for this year, so it is good to take a look back at this year.

I was quite happy about the productivity in my blog this year. I am actually quite fast writer, but my biggest problem is always an inspiration. Usually my mind is just blank, regardless of constant stimulation (books, movies, exercise, other blogs) I try to give it. If I get an idea, the actual writing does not take that long. That is why I have just tried to force myself to write posts even with half-boiled inspiration and it is starting to pay off now. The readership has been also increasing steadily, which is nice to notice as well. Majority of visitors come from LinkedIn, but when something takes off in Twitter, it might result in much bigger audience. I think that showcases that LinkedIn influencers do not have as wide reach as Twitter ones.

Below are the ten most-read posts of the year. If I think about this blog, there are two distinctive types of posts in here. Other ones are I just blow off steam and rant about something quite random. The other one is that I am obviously working on something and want to get more clarity around it by writing and putting my research on more concise format. It is quite good balance with both of them on this most-read list, so I will continue the next year with the same strategy.

Top 10 Most Read Posts 2014

1. Psst…Can I Whisper You a Secret? Anynomous Mobile Messaging Apps
These types of posts are the most demanding from research-perspective, but also most useful on the long run as they have longer shelf life. This has served as my cheat sheet every time someone has asked me about anonymous chat services.

2. Going Nuts about Macadamia Nuts
Topical post with one clear idea usually goes down well with my readers. Good example of post you have to write immediately when you get the idea, otherwise you just forget it or start over-intellectualizing it.

3. Never Skip Your Lunch Break
Quite seldom I get personal feedback about my posts, but this post has prompted numerous people to forward their approval. It is nice to hear, as I take my lunch breaks seriously.

4. Marketing At The Speed of Culture
I don´t even remember this post, is probably not that good either.

5.Anatomy of An Insight: Edeka Supergeil
Great ad and some post-rationalization, always a certified hit in Stand-Up Strategy.

6.#Cockinasock and Twisted World of Male Charity
It is about male genitals stuffed in sock, who would not read it?

7. How to Know When It Is Time To Quit?
I almost did not remember what this post was about, but reading it again it gave vivid memory of that dork banging on the wrong door at the middle of the night. Human tragedy for me makes perfect comedy for you, dear reader.

8. Why Don´t I Use Data On My Smartphone?
It is always interesting when digital professional reveals something about his own technological handicaps.

9. 9 Tips On How To Be Interesting Conference Speaker
These types of posts used to be my staples back in Finland. List about how to become better at something. I have not really done these for a while, so this was more of a test about could I do classic list-type of posts.

10. Sharing Economy: A Threat or An Opportunity For Your Business?
Again longer compilation about bigger trend: took some time to research again, but has proven to be useful later as well.

There they are. If I would like that some post would be on this list, it would be this one about the future of Internet. It was actually the 12th most read post, but I still think that it has quite a lot of valid points to consider. Essentially, the readers decide the importance of post and maybe that post is just too long-winded and boring.

Well, that was it for this year. I will now focus on reading some Paul Auster, listening to the new D´Angelo album, drinking some gin & juice and just enjoying wonderful Christmastime.

See you again in 2015.

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Everything I Have Learned From Business, I Have Learned From Wu-Tang Clan

The most duplicated, anticipated, validated
Urban legends in the books with the ones who made it
Highly celebrated, everything was work related
Current top 40 got the Wu deep in all their business
20 years Killa Bees, yeah, we hold the pennant
Monumental stance on the cover with my co-defendants
Drop her sentence, in remembrance
Construct these jewels so they can live through my descendants
-U-God (A Ruckus in B Minor)

As some of readers of this blog might know, I have always been quite deeply involved in hiphop. Although I don´t rhyme or deejay as much anymore, I still collect records and try to follow latest music as closely as possible. Recently I was asked to write a story about Wu-Tang Clan for the biggest Finnish music magazine Rumba. If you are Finnish reader, I recommend reading it.

Wu-Tang Clan has been one of the most influential bands for me and they shaped my teenage years profoundly. What is remarkable of Wu-Tang Clan, that they were not only able to do classic albums, they build a successful business imperium as well. Regardless of your personal preference regarding hip-hop, there is quite a lot to learn from Wu-Tang Clan:

1.You Need A Good Logo

Wu-Tang Logo is legendary. The basic version with black & yellow colorway shines like Batman pattern at night. The logo is also flexible and works in different shapes, colors and adaptations.

2. You have to have a strong leader

The musical peak of Wu-Tang Clan is still their debut album. That was also the time, when their leadership was most firmly at the hands of one person: RZA. He produced the album and fierce members of Wu-Tang were freestyling against each other in studio to secure a slot on the album. In later years, the egos of certain members of the group have gotten bigger and there has been more turmoil regarding the artistic direction. Unfortunately the democracy has not necessarily been that successful for them artistically.

3. Do your own thing

Wu-Tang Clan borrowed its subject matter from old Kung-Fu movies and the sounds were lifted from dusty soul albums. That was totally unique at that time. It was not tested in focus groups, did not have market research behind or was not anything really that was ever done before. Quite often you cannot predict what people want, you just do something you believe and hope for the best.

4. Nurture your talent
“We reinvented the way hip hop was structured, and what I mean is, you have a group signed to a label, yet the infrastructure of our deal was like anyone else’s. We still could negotiate with any label we wanted, like Meth went with Def Jam, Rae stayed with Loud, Ghost went with Sony, GZA went with Geffen Records, feel me? And all these labels still put “Razor Sharp Records” on the credits. Wu Tang was a financial movement”

Wu-Tang Clan as a band has sold 6.5 million albums in US. Overall they have sold 40 million albums worldwide. That number includes the individual solo albums. What was a strike of genius from RZA, was that every member of the group was able to get their own record deals from another record label. This enabled that almost every major record label had at least one Wu-Tang artist on their roster. Solo albums might have diverted the attention from the group effort, but from individual artists it was great. Especially in the beginning the sales figures were outstanding for the each individual Wu-Tang solo album as well.

5. Expand

Wu-Tang Clan was not only about music. It was about merchandise (Wu-Wear), tours, movies and even video games. The business part was always totally integrated to the music as well. Above song is called Wu-Wear: A Garment Reneissance and it is a legitimate song, but at the same time you can also view it as a blatant advertising. Wu-Tang Clan never sold out, they sold in.

6. But Don´t Expand Too Much

At some point, there was new album coming from random Wu-affiliate almost every month. This was the time before streaming, online mixtapes or even well-developed piracy, so if you wanted the records you had to buy them. Naturally the quality was not always that good and there was definitely certain Wu-fatigue at the end of the century. For example, the video below features “the youngest” member of Wu Shyheim. That song in question was probably as good as it gets, but generally no one really remembers him or any other of those loosely affiliated Wu-wannabes. Already in 1994 there was over 300 Wu-Tang affiliates.

Licensing business is the best business there is, as you it is essentially opportunity to print money. You should not license your brand to anyone, as you want retain some scarcity and appeal of your brand. Stamp of Wu-Tang Clan was commoditized at the turn of the century, but lately they have tried to regain some exclusivity. Maybe it is too late already?

7. Keep Innovating

This December Wu-Tang Clan released their new studio album “A Better Tomorrow” (which was also distributed as a bluetooth speaker). That is no the whole story though, there is also album called “Once Upon Time in Shaolin”, but there is one catch. There is only one of them in existence. Apparently someone has already offered 5 million of it as well. The music business is in ruins, but at least these hiphop-veterans keep on trying.

If you are interested more about hiphop and business, I recommend reading “The Big Payback: The History of The Business of Hip-Hop”, a brilliant book by Dan Charnas. It has great coverage of Wu-Tang Clan as well. Besides that I also recommend listening to Wu-Tang Clan regularly. It is good for you.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Volkswagen Eyes On The Road

Sometimes media is the message. This stunt could only work in movie theatre, but it is example of simple brilliance:

Insight: If you can demonstrate it, you do not need to say or show it.

This video has also gotten over 3M views, which I found interesting. The stunt is not that overboard to catch the attention, but it is easy to relate. You immediately and intuitively know that you would reach your phone for the message.

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The Only 2015 Social Media Trends You Need to Read This Year

As the year approaches the end, it has become an annual tradition for me take a look at crystal ball and share my views to Kurio Digital Marketing Think Thank on the next year´s social media trends. For those adapt at Finnish, I recommend reading the whole report in here. If you are not interested in the predictions of 26 other Finnish digital marketers, you can also jump straight to the most important ones (mine) below.

Before going through the actual answers, I have to say that I have not been interested in social media as such for a long time. Do not get me wrong. Social plays crucial role in digital business. But I seldom think digital as a separate entity either: digital is air. Digital, mobile and social should be a part of every business. Sometimes at the core, sometimes playing supporting role and sometimes playing no role at all. Strategy is about deciding what to do, but even more importantly what not to do. If you are thinking social media as a separate unit you are missing the bigger picture. The dominance of digital universe goes well beyond our traditional silos.

Having got that off my chest, here are my most important social media trends for 2015:

1. Biggest Social Media Trend in 2015?

One-Size does not fit all
No more social media army knives. Consumers demand services excelling in one feature instead of having multiple mediocre features crammed into one. It is no longer about maximizing users in one single service (Facebook), but maximizing the time spent on the whole ecosystem (WhatsApp, Instagram, FB Messenger). How different services will or not be integrated together is big strategic question and will have implications on what channels companies should be using to reach their target audience.

2. Social media platforms to look out for 2015?

Anonymous and Interest-based networks
Anononymous chat apps (i.e. Whisper & Secret) are definitely interesting. It remains to be seen, can they do the jump to the next level like Snapchat has done.
Even in 2014 discussion forums are still alive and kicking. This is one proof that, there is demand for interest-based social network with underlying idea ”It is not who you are, but what you are interested in”. Ello cannot make it and current anynomous chat apps focus more on filth, rumors and spying. All of those activities are naturally great, but is it enough for these apps to make it to the major league is a billion dollar valuation question.

3. Biggest challenges in doing social media marketing in 2015?

Wrong teams doing wrong things with wrong budgets to wrong clients
From business logic perspective, Facebook and YouTube are more traditional advertising than social media. When you sponsor a post in Facebook, you should invest as much or even more to it than to a print ad. Emphasizing the verb “should”. Many marketers have not understood the shift in dynamics in digital marketing. Facebook is new print. YouTube is the new TV. Some marketers still have the illusion that digital is either free or cheap and you do not have to worry about production values. They could not be more wrong.
On the other hand, some marketers misinterpret the rising digital ad prices and increased resemblance to traditional ad buying logic to just pushing your TV ads to YouTube or print ads to Facebook. They could not be more wrong. Although the prices are getting closer, the creative should be drastically different.
Eyeballs cost money and you do not have loopholes for free publicity any more. If you are not ready to take risks, be honest and bold, catching the attention of consumers is even harder, almost impossible regardless of the media budget.

4. Social Media Buzzword, which hopefully disappears in 2015?

There has been a simple reason why I have not written anything about Ello in this blog. It is not interesting at all. Diaspora and Ello are manifestations that consumers are not really that interested in privacy, your personal data usage in advertising or in pretty much anything else that you should be interested as a conscious consumer. The problem is that majority of consumers are not that conscious.

5. Biggest social media wish for the next year?

Wishes are for people, who do not make demands.
I actually read through my last year´s predictions and I still think they are valid stuff as well. So if you did not find trends suitable to your liking in this list, I recommend reading that one.

Happy holidays to every one! I still might have couple of posts left in tank for this year, but soon going for a deserved holiday.

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The Art (or Lack) of Selling Pt.2

As you might know, I do not belong to “do-not-call”-registry.

Mainly it is because I have a strong belief that our business is about selling. Therefore you can learn from good salespeople and also from the more inferior ones. My morning today got started with the following call:

Salesman: Do you have a moment of time?
Riku: Yes, I actually have.
Salesman: Would you be interested in this extra insurance if you get terminal illness?
Riku: No.
Salesman: It also covers up to 200k outstanding balances, if you have accidental death. Would you not be interested in this product?
Riku: I already have life insurance. (Besides if I will suffer accidental death, I think my credit card balance is least of my concerns then. Not to mention that my credit limit is only 20k in any case. If I would have 200k outstanding balances, it means that you have messed up in some way.)
Salesman: Many of our clients have also life insurances, but they also have this product.
Riku: (Many of your clients are also morons, who cannot understand even simple arithmetics). I am not interested. It costs too much as well, especially because I am already covered by life insurance.
Salesman: But accidents can happen anywhere as you seem to be travelling quite a lot. And you only pay 0.49% of every credit card bill, as there is no fixed fee.
Riku: But if I would max out my credit card limit every month, which you also try to make me do, the actual cost would be over 1k a year. I think you can get quite a lot of insurance with that money. Also percentage is harder to predict than fixed fee.
Salesman: -Silence-
Riku: So, I am not interested. (As your product is total scam and you seem like a bona fide snakes-oil salesman)
Salesman: You might also get a terminal illness, don´t you want to think about your family?
Riku: I think I am getting terminal illness by being in this call.
Salesman: Well, if you change your mind..
Riku: Well, I won´t. Bye.

Fear is sometimes good way to make you buy something. I don´t really want to think about terminal illnesses or accidental deaths first thing in the morning. It is also not necessarily wise to try to impose guilt to total stranger on a phone about leaving your family stranded if you kick the bucket. The whole call got me really irritated and made me hate my bank even more.

Unfortunately this method is probably effective. Bank business is generally about screwing people who cannot count or do not understand how percentages add up. Throw some guilt in the mix and I can see many people sign on these dubious programs. So thinking in those terms, it is great selling!

It also makes my blood boil. You should make your customer feel good about buying your products. Then it is likely that he is willing to buy more to keep that happiness. Using fear and guilt should be the last resort.

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Why Xiaomi is The Future of Smartphone Industry?

What is the world´s fourth and China´s biggest smartphone company?
Hint: It is not Nokia.

It is actually company called Xiaomi, four-year old Chinese company, who does really affordable smartphones and has been dubbed as the Apple of China. it has taken China by storm and is now eying for world dominance. So forget the usual players for a moment and take couple of lessons from the new rising star of mobile:

1.Smartphone market will be commoditized, be cheap
Smartphone is not a status symbol anymore or anywhere in the world. The latest innovations in smartphones have majorly been in terms of size. Xiaomi´s operating margin was only 1.8 percent compared to 28.7% Apple and 18.7 Samsung. Part of it is due to their aggressive growth strategy, but other part is the commoditization. Profits will definitely shrink in smartphone category. Especially when the main source of growth will come from developing markets.

2. Copy with pride & style
One of my colleague ordered new Xiaomi phone. When I tested it out, it was quite a revelation for a devoted Apple user. Actually it was probably the first Android phone I thought of actually, so striking was the similarity with iPhone. Whereas many other copycat products I have seen, it did not feel cheap or shady at all. The package was nice and the phone felt way more premium than its price. So it would be unfair to categorize Xiaomi phones only as copycats, but it would be unfair not to mention that aspect either. It is not coincidence that Lei Jun, the founder of Xiaomi, rocks black turtlenecks and jeans in their product unveilings. Technologic innovation is expensive, so Xiaomi bypasses that one and innovates in other areas of their business.

3. Innovate the business model
Xiaomi is not technologically innovative, that is true. From business perspective, they have been really disruptive. Xiaomi keeps their phones longer in the market than other competitors (even to 18 months compared to 6 months of Samsung). Apple has to come up with new products constantly to keep up their margins. Xiaomi is more betting on component cost drop-off during those two years and prices their product initially close to the component cost. Selling phones (they also have tablets and tvs) is just one side of the coin; their main goal is to actually sell services and apps through the phone.

Next year will be important litmus test for their approach as they are rapidly expanding beyond China. They concentrate on markets with large populations, e-Commerce infrastructure and weak telecom carriers. The initial response from India was great, although now the sales have been blocked because of potential patent infringement. The focus on India, Indonesia, Brazil & Russia is wise strategy, but there might be actually some opportunities in more developed markets as well. My colleague was not the only Singaporean who has bought their new phone. During this Christmas season Xiaomi phones have been more popular lucky draw prizes than iPhones. At least for a while, the slick design and renegade attitude has certain aspirational cool factor, not normally attributed to budget versions.

4. Innovate the distribution
Xiaomi has a digital-first approach to the sales of their phones. They partner with big e-Commerce retailers (like Tmall in China and Flipkart in India), and sell their phones through them. They never sell through brick & mortar stores. By selling directly to consumers, the company can collect and administer all the feedback and built it into the next generation of their phones.
They are also well known for their flash sales, which resemble more of buying rock concert tickets than traditional mobile phone sales. In China, during Single´s day, they sold over 200k smartphones in less than 3 minutes. In India they sold out in their flash sales in 4 seconds. Flash sales work both from branding and business perspective. They create demand and buzz around the phone. Flash sales are not just solitary transactions; they are actual events. One of the main reasons why they sell limited quantity of phones each week is to keep costs down by having smaller inventory.

5. Being cheap does not mean that you do not have brand
Xiaomi phones are entry-level phones, but creating brand affinity with teens is not necessarily a bad strategy. Xiaomi is not just a cheap phone for their devoted fans. It resembles more like religious cult. Part of it is that Xiaomi is probably the first technology brand, that Chinese can really be proud of. It does help to have charismatic leader to go with it as well. Xiaomi launch events are real festivals and people even buy tickets to attend them. Over 60 million watched the livestream and some even took 15h ride to attend those launch events. The events, flash sales and the product serves as marketing. Xiaomi does not really do conventional advertising and uses only 1% to marketing. Their devoted fans and devoted leaders are the best marketers. When Lin Bin (Xiaomi co-foudner) had a “planking” competition with their management team this December, the photo was shared over 3000 times. Not necessarily something that would happen with more traditional companies.

Although you would not necessarily switch to Xiaomi phone, their disruptive business model is something to follow and watch out for in 2015.

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Going Nuts About Macadamia Nuts

Sometimes people are just nuts.

If you live in this part of the world, you have not been able to miss the nutty episode in Korean Air flight. Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of chairman of Korean Airlines Cho Yang-Ho, had nut rage, as her macadamia nuts were not served according to Korean air protocol: the bag of nuts was unopened (which is naturally totally intolerable behavior in first-class flight). Cho Hyun-ah forced the head steward to kneel and apologize as punishment and was kicked off the aircraft when it returned to the gate. The whole event delayed Korean Air flight from NY to Seoul for 20 minutes. The nut rage might just be a tip of iceberg for bigger corporate culture problem for the troubled Korean Air.

The most intriguing fact about the whole incident is that the sales of macadamia nuts have soared in Korea. Sales of nuts in online marketplaces are up 149% from the week before the incident. This reminds us of the old adage:

Any publicity might be good publicity.

Top-of-mind is the first thing you have to solve for any marketer, brand or product category. The biggest challenge is that your audience does not really know, think or care about you. Before the incident no one really thought about macadamia nuts. When you keep talking about them day after day, suddenly you start craving for them. It also adds more value to the nuts. When you serve them in meetings, you have a good icebreaker and nuts become a conversation topic. Currently macadamia nuts are the superstars of all the nuts, because they have social currency. They are not just nutrition; they are part of the popular culture.

After horsemeat scandal, the demand for the actual horsemeat soared. Again the same reason behind this: before the scandal people had not even thought about eating horsemeat (which is actually way more ethical meat than the traditional beef). Negative event actually sparked positive effects for other category. Brands miss these opportunities all the time, because they are too scared to tap into more controversial topics even though the potential gain would be huge. Real people do not live in sugarcoated advertising dreamland, but in real world with whole range of emotions (both positive and negative, and everything in between).

Brands should seize the real-time opportunities.

Brands understand the real-time marketing in a wrong way. Too often they try to ride existing fad and force their brand brand into it. In reality it works the opposite way. You inject that real-time event to your brand and add value in that way. Therefore macadamia nuts have currently much more social currency than, say, walnuts, although latter ones are arguably healthier. Walnuts did not spark crazy behavior, macadamia nuts did.

For every brand and product, it essentially boils down to the compelling story. Currently macadamia nuts are just damn interesting story. Nut manufacturers and retailers should try to seize this opportunity while it lasts.

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Why Do We Need Dislike Button to Facebook?

The like button is valuable because it’s a quick way to share a positive sentiment. Some people have asked for a dislike button so they can say something isn’t good, and we’re not going to do that. I don’t think that’s good for the community.
Mark Zuckerberg

It is obvious that Mark Zuckerberg is not Finnish or even Singaporean for that matter. If Facebook would have dislike button, the usage would soar in certain countries. Disliking is much more honest act than boring liking. I would love to dislike all the boring status updates in my feed. Hiding the users seems so permanent. Dislike would be like yellow card in football: no more those inane updates or you get booted. I think the people would appreciate that as well: sometimes we get blinded by our own excellence that we don´t realize that it is not interesting in a larger scale at all.

The thing I think are really valuable is there are more sentiments just than people like something. There are things in people’s lives that are sad, or that or tragic, and people don’t want to Like them. We’ve talked about for a while how can people express a wider range of emotions like surprise.
Mark Zuckerberg

Disdain, hate and anger are valid human emotions and Facebook has missed an opportunity because people cannot express them. The force-fed positivity of Facebook makes you like photos of people presenting their meat trophies and showing off their boring holiday pictures. Occasional dislike would put them on check and remind them that they are not so special.

Not to mention like Zuckerberg already pointed out, you can use like-button for bad purposes as well. Someone updates that he got divorced, like it. Cat has died, like it. Someone has gotten a tropical disease, like it.

How evil is that behavior?

Like is the lightest-weight way to express positive sentiment. I don’t think adding a light-weight way to express negative sentiment wou ld be that valuable.
Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin

Why it would not be valuable?

At least dislike is honest representation of true human feeling: I do not really approve your message. You cannot be positive all the time.

Of course it might be cruel to people as not everyone has been growing their thick skin in real life, where you might get negative comments occasionally as well. It might also read to cyber-bullying and other abuse, which you cannot escape in Facebook in any case. So it will be unlikely (no pun intended) that we will get dislike button for Facebook users anytime soon. However, there is a special group that would really need the dislike:

Brands & Facebook advertisements

Dislike would be even more helpful for the brands than like. Majority of people liking comments from the brand are just waiting promotions, working in agencies or cannot read. Dislike button would be a real-time barometer of how people feel about your ads. Brands cannot get upset. Brands cannot be bullied or abused. Dislike button would show the reality for many brands. Currently as people cannot really show their true (negative) feelings in Facebook, brands have too rosy picture of the current state of their brand. Dislike button would be a much-needed reality check for the affectivity of your ads and measure for real human sentiment. It would evolve the Facebook ads to real-time research and would maybe be a business opportunity for Facebook.

I cannot wait to start disliking different brands in Facebook.

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Curse Marketing: When It Is Ok for Brands To Give A F*ck

The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.
– George Washington

Well, merry f*cking Christmas to you George as well.

I´ve been accused of vulgarity. I say that´s bullshit
– Mel Brooks

Using profanity is part of your verbal excellence. Swearing isn´t bad language. Swearing is essential language. Right curse word at the right time can amplify your point and elevate your message. Of course you have to be selective when you use those filthy words. Just like too much salt can ruin your meal, too much profanity makes your message harder to swallow. If your dropping F-Bombs all the time, they start to resemble more aerial shells and don´t really explode. NWA was able to shock the world by their explicit language, but f-words in popular songs are just white noise.

Obscenity is a notable enhancer of life and is suppressed at grave peril to the arts
– Brendan Gill

I try to use curse words sparingly, only occasionally to illustrate and underline my message. The only expectation is sports, when my language resembles a pirate, who has just lost his peg leg. My only saving grace is my weird native language, so majority of people do not know what I am shouting in Finnish in basketball court. It has actually been studied that swearing has positive health consequences and helps to relieve pain.

Vulgarity is the garlic in the salad of life.
– Cyril Connolly

Brands have also experimented with profanity and obscene language. Sometimes it does not work, but below are certain examples when it makes total commercial sense as well:

1. Thug Kitchen´s use of profanity is a smart strategic decision. When talking about healthy eating and especially vegan diet, you might start to think about hippies, flower power and softness. The image might prevent especially male audience in turning to healthier diet. For some reason steaks are more masculine than quinoa crops. By the choice of strong language, Thug Kitchen illustrates that there is nothing weak in eating healthy and cooking healthy food. Their mission statement gives a good lowdown on what they believe with only slight bit of profanity to spice things up:

This site is here to help your narrow dietary mind explore some goddamn options so that you can look and feel like a fucking champ. We hope readers reconsider what kind of behaviors they attribute to people who try to eat healthy. Everyone deserves to feel a part of our push toward a healthier diet, not just people with disposable incomes who speak a certain way. So we’re here to help cut through the bullshit. Promoting accessibility and community are important as fuck here at Thug Kitchen. We’ve got a big table and everyone is welcome to it.

What I´m saying might be profane, but it´s also profound.
-Richard Pryor

2. sells t-shirts to fight for pro-LGBT equality and against racism and sexism. To promote their pro-feminism line, they had girls cursing against sexism. There is naturally the shock factor, but again using profanity has a clear purpose in this ad. For some reason cursing is more accepted for male than female. That is one small demonstration of the double standards existing in our society. By using strong language the brand turns the focus to real problems in our society:

Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism by from on Vimeo.

Censorship feeds the dirty mind more than the four-letter word itself
– Dick Cavett

3. The above examples are from less traditional brands, using profanity is not only limited to underdog brands. If using of profanity helps you to illustrate your point more vividly, almost every brand can use it. If you are family brand or your target audience consists of prudes, I would advise not to use profanity, though. On the other hand, if toothpaste brand can get away with it probably your brand can as well. The latest Oral-B ad uses cursing (with bleeps, but it does not left anything to imagination) as a way to demonstrate the Christmas stress we all are experiencing this time a year:

Sometimes the best way to demonstrate that you give a damn is to actually say damn. Or even something stronger.

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Anatomy of An Insight: The Hoop

Mulberry has done the best Christmas ad as it strikes just the right chord with its take on the Christmas materialism. More on a tearjerker side, this ad really made me emotional. Either it is because of my eternal love of basketball, reminiscing my grandfather building me a basketball backboard or thinking about my goddaughter getting older; this ad from Dick´s Sporting Goods really lifted my holiday spirit.

Insight: Best gifts might change your life, both for the giver and receiver.

I remember when I got my first proper running shoes (Nike, of course), Snoop´s first album, first great dinner in proper fine-dining restaurant or a 10-time card for hot yoga. These gifts nudged me to certain direction in life and also strengthened the passion I have for the best things in life (sports, hiphop, food). I am eternally grateful for those gifts. They are also great demonstration on how things make you happy. If they don´t, you just are not getting the right things.

In this ad, the hoop serves as a metaphor for the relationship of father and daughter and how basketball is the glue between them. Right gift at the right time can help to retain the relationship and also elevate it to the next level.

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