Selling Sears (or Åhléns) With Porn – a Thought Experiment

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With traditional tag-along advertising, we force our way into peoples homes, or rather, we sneek our way in by way of real value. This has provided us with good reach by simply paying our way in, but it also has its disadvantages – we have to behave like the uninvited guests that we are.

I would like you to commit to a thought experiment here, and I hope to get some intelligent thoughts from you on the topic in the comments. Let’s go.

The Thought Experiment

Take a look at this film, which was made as a party invitation for Diesel:

Now imagine that this would not have been made for Diesel, but instead had another logo at the end, say Sears (or Åhléns for you Swedish readers). What would that do to this brand?

Well – running it on television, forcing it into peoples homes, would be disastrous. But what if we don’t run it on television? What if watching it is completely voluntary? Would people then be offended and blame it on Sears (or Åhléns)? I think not, because watching it is completely up to you, and anyone who would be offended probably wouldn’t share it to anybody else either.

People who did thought this was cool however would share it with other people who they thought would appreciate it too, don’t you think? They probably wouldn’t share it with people who they thought would be offended (like their parents for instance), right?

So, leaving it open if this would make Sears (or Åhléns) more down with the kids or not (something similar definitely could), I doubt that it would cause negative PR-effects. Wouldn’t this mean that it would be fairly risk free to try it?

What do you think?

Telia (Sweden’s biggest mobile phone network provider) actually did something similar to this when they launched Jacko, a highly graphic character without pants walking around behaving rather… well… you’d better watch it:

Did this cause PR-disaster for Telia? No. Why? Well – because it was voluntary. I think. But I’m not sure.

What this would mean is that you could try to put out different attitudes to different segments, some very very edgy, and have it work great. It’s rather counter-intuitive considering how we’ve always thought in terms of brand identity congruency, but I think this may be a remnant of our blunt and broad instruments of distribution, and that this way of slicing your communication from rated PG to rated R could actually work really well.

It’s late and I’m a bit tired, so I’m sorry if these thoughts came out in a somewhat messy structure, but I just wanted to get these thoughts out of my head before heading out for my evening walk.

Let me know if you think that this made any sense.

Good night.

 
About the Blog

This blog is written by Walter Naeslund and has been around since 2007. The blog is about the journey of starting an advertising agency and a sneak peek behind the scenes of what goes on at the Honesty HQ in SoFo, Södermalm. It is also a blog about communication & technology. The blog has gathered almost a thousand posts over the years with several longer and shorter breaks. Welcome and enjoy.
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