WHAT'S UNDER YOUR WALLET?
This is dangerous territory.
Especially for early on a Tuesday morning.
From coast to coast, there will be faithful readers of the weekly screed performing unintentional spit takes, spraying morning coffee across their computer screens.
Be sure to have a tissue handy.
The Small-Business Brand Of The Week Award goes to...
Genitals Or Not?
YES, YOU READ IT HERE FIRST
There is a business called Genitals or Not?
They offer a highly specialized service.
They work with you to determine whether your company's logo looks unintentionally like genitalia.
And they're unabashed about what they do.
"We'll take a look at your genitals so your customers don't have to."
Your relentless scribe is not making this up.
This is actual news.
WHY ON EARTH?
A couple of reasons.
For one, it seems unintentional genitals is an actual problem.
The website serves up vivid examples of real-world logos suffering from, um, exposure.
And not just small, unknown brands. Big ones, too.
For instance, who designed that Trump-Pence logo?
Moreover, who let it go public?
Additionally, the Airbnb logo is problematic. It's very...how do we say this...feminine.
Even Amazon is not immune to such a stumble.
(And you thought that big swooping line was a smile...)
SOMETIMES, YOU JUST NEED A THIRD-PARTY EYE
Otherwise, "The results of this unforeseen graphic content can make your brand into a laughingstock or, even worse, irrevocably ruin your business."
That's the first reason for the existence of Genitals Or Not?
There's also second reason, though it isn't stated explicitly. We are making an inference.
When you have a small advertising agency, it can help to get noticed.
And sophomoric, frat-boy humor can be one way to make the world pay attention.
It also seems to have worked.
GENITALS OR NOT IS GETTING COVERAGE
From Adweek in the US to Dagens Media in Sweden, the ad industry is chattering about Genitals Or Not?
And for anyone who visits the website and remotely interested in whatever lunatic put this thing up, there's a link to Josh Mishell's Fermentable Sugar.
Mr. Mishell is a creative director who comes from the brewing industry, hence the name.
In an overly simplistic explanation, fermentable sugars are what help yeast produce alcohol.
And alcohol content of a beverage is measured in specific gravity.
Higher gravity brews have more alcohol and are more potent.
Hence, Fermentable Sugar's tagline: "High-Gravity Design & Marketing Solutions."
SO, WHY ARE WE EVEN TALKING ABOUT THIS?
Is your relentless scribe recommending that you spend $25 with Genitals Or Not? to determine if your logo is inadvertently exposing your brand to ridicule?
You're too smart for that.
(Too smart to have such a logo, that is. But maybe you'd like to submit your logo anyway. Frankly, I'm curious to see what 25 bucks gets a client of Genitals Or Not?)
The reason we're talking about this is for the object lesson in how a small brand can get huge coverage.
It's not the size of the brand. As it were.
Here's an ad agency in Denver that has half as many desks as Slow Burn Marketing.
AND THEY'RE GETTING COVERAGE IN NATIONAL INDUSTRY MEDIA
Going back to last week's mention of earned media credits, Krylon picked up millions of dollars-worth of media coverage with a miniscule budget.
Arguably, Fermentable Sugar is going to blow Krylon out of the water in terms of dollars spent to media earned.
By using smart, targeted creative that draws people in.
The advertising industry is noticing Mr. Mishell for his skills at creating evocative, engaging material.
AND GUESS WHO CAN BRING THAT MAN A LOT OF BUSINESS?
That's right: the people who are noticing him.
He can certainly work directly with his own clients.
But small ad agencies are often hired by bigger ad agencies as subcontractors.
And those contracts can be very lucrative.
Is that Mr. Mishell's goal?
If it is, he's made himself magnetic.
AND CIRCLING BACK AROUND...
What's your magnetic promotion?
It doesn't need to be sophomoric humor about unintentional genitalia.
But it should still get a rise out of your core customer.
Could your brand do something equally simple that makes your prospect sit up, take notice and want to play?
This all goes back to the notion that your relentless scribe pounds with a stick, to wit: branding is not about spending money.
BRANDING IS ABOUT THINKING
It's about understanding the person to whom you're talking, and how to make that person feel one way about what you do.
Again, last week we talked about the Krylon campaign for The World's Longest Yard Sale.
We pointed out how that effort, national though it was, was eminently scalable.
There is absolutely no reason why a small brand with some creative and strategic thought couldn't do something equally engaging and effective.
Today, we have a project that can't possibly be scaled down.
IT'S ALREADY SCALED AS SMALL AS IT'S GOING TO GET
It's a simple website with a running gag about bad marketing.
And still, it's international news.
Literally, it's one guy in Denver.
And his work is getting press coverage across the country and across the Atlantic.
Will it bring him new business?
Dunno. We have no crystal balls.
But we do admire it, puerile though it may be.
And, again, it serves as a high-profile example of how a small, focused brand can command global attention.
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.