Throughout this series, The Other EQ, we’ve been breaking down just how changed the consumer-climate is today. Your ideal targeted audience is stretched thin and scratched raw right about now. Black Mirror feels hard to watch because of the dystopian-future-is-now quality of our lives.
You could say they have absolutely ZERO F*CKS to give at this point. As brands, we should be taking this very seriously, and shifting our approach when it comes to generating demand for the plethora of products and services we hawk on the regular.
Humour helps 🐇
But humour doesn’t help when you’re 8 weeks behind what’s happening in the world around you, the good AND the bad. You risk looking woefully out of date, at best, and horribly offensive and unsympathetic at worst!
The best brands – large and small – are upping their game and engaging with people on “day of” issues. And those are the brands that are winning.
“But Susan! How can I possibly stay on top of the news, I have no time. I can barely keep up, leave alone find an entertaining angle on it for my brand!”
Shame on you! It’s 2021. Not having time for entertaining content is a prioritization issue 🙂 Given how fast we can turn things around in the digital news age, we have little excuse.
Now that I’m done the shaming portion of this exercise, let’s proceed to inspiration 💜💜
I’ve had a lot of post pandemic examples in the form of delicious screenshots and laughter-inducing videos of brands really leaning into infusing entertainment into content. We all create lightning fast, so why not give some ideas a try as they happen. And so we should.
Lots more recent AF examples to come, as I continue to write this column.
For today though friends, come back with me for a decidedly old school treat.
From way back when I was young.
To a brand who’s billboard advertising I watched wide-eyed as I grew up, dreaming of writing things even one tenth as clever!
Say hello to Amul Butter. The OG newsjackers since 1966 in India.
This 👇is “Amul’s mascot, a little girl in a polka-dot dress, long lashes, blue hair and ribbon, has been part of the butter brand’s campaign since 1966.”
For 6 decades, “she’s commented on India’s major milestones and preoccupations. She cracked in-jokes in public. She’s made the news cool.”
It’s easy enough to think that brands jumping on news on social media is a new trend. It’s not.
Allow me to show you how it was done at practically the speed of the average corporate social media approval cycle, except on a GINORMOUS BILLBOARD (or scores of them in various Indian cities).
That was the very first billboard they ever had. Here’s how it came to be. Sylvester da Cunha, the head of a small Mumbai advertising agency, and his team decided to use billboards for Amul to combat the costs of mainstream advertising. “The Amul Girl was sketched by art director Eustace Fernandes. Her first ad described the product as ‘utterly butterly delicious’, a delightfully goofy phrase coined by Sylvester’s wife, Nisha da Cunha”
A real family affair, with audiences that run in a billion 🙂
“Rahul da Cunha took over the creation of the Amul topical advertisements from his father Sylvester, in 1994. ‘The Amul topicals are part of my bloodstream; I think about them day and night,” he says. “When my dad was working on them, he’d do one billboard a month. Now we do as many as five a week, across platforms.”
He, along with Manish Jhaveri and Jayant Rane, have been working on the weekly newsjacking campaigns for 27 years.
Here’s a sampling 👇 (and three’s a little light foreshadowing here, if you catch my drift. Or you will in the next couple of weeks. Drop me a line when you do catch the hidden jokes in the series. I love inside giggles.)
While I picked a couple of globally understandable samples up top 👆their real genius was in their use of language. “An important element of Amul ads is its use of metaphorical switching or code switching between English and Hindi freely.” A skill that was extended to several other Indian languages including Tamil and Punjabi. Wordplay was their sweet spot. Like this one 👇 from the 1990s.
“Amul makes us think if we are going forward or backward by banning Pakistani artists to work in Indian film industry. Here the pun is on the actor Fawad’s name – Fawad/forward.”
At its core, this genius newsjacking stalwart brand uses a simple template
1. The headline comments on the news,
2. the tagline connects the subject to butter,
3. the illustration brings it all together.”
And that folx, is this week’s lesson.
Very important lesson number 10 in entertaining with your content 👉 Get comfortable with staying up to date with the news; and create a formula to comments on it.
A detailed arc with use cases from brands you’ll recognize in the news of NOW coming up over the next few weeks.