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I’m a huge Saturday Night Live fan, I binge watch their sketches like crazy. What makes it so incredibly perfect, is their ability to perfectly capture each nuance of the society we live in and satirize it by exaggerating every detail or cliché you can think of. Oh, satire… Isn’t it amazing?!
Something that they do quite often – and quite well I must say – is faux-ads. Just last week I saw one of the funniest faux-ads I’ve seen in a long time. In this hilarious SNL commercial parody, Levi’s introduces “Wokes,” a new label-defying denim that’s sizeless, gender non-conforming, and completely style-neutral.
If you’re not familiar with slang,“Wokes” is used to define a certain segment of millennials that are – or intend to be – very aware of all social, political and environmental issues going on in the world. They hate the mainstream and labels.
With this fake commercial, they mock this segment by addressing to them saying exactly what they want to hear. A completely random and generic ad. Genius, right? That got me thinking. What is portrait in this sketch, is no more no less than a comic representation of what brands are doing.
Because you know that as long as you have an inspiring video, featuring cool looking people with tattoos and bleached hair, and an off-voice saying stuff like “You only live once” and “You are special”, you are going to have a million shares on Facebook.
And while you’re at it, maybe throw in there a young beautiful model or influencer. Maybe having her solve a huge social problem by just using your product! Oh wait… Don’t do that. That has already been done and it didn’t go so well. Do you remember that famous – or should I call it infamous – Pepsi ad that starred Kendal Jenner?
That campaign had serious repercussions for Pepsi. The brand deleted the commercial from their channel, publicly apologise and faced backlash and boycotts all around the world.
This attempt to create an impacting and relatable campaign for millennials didn’t work out. But at least it became viral so… wohoo?!
Marketing is a bunch of strategies put together to help you reach your target, and if your target is millennials, yes you should talk in terms they understand but good sense is appreciated. I know brands want to “talk” and “be part of the community” – these are meant to be ironic air quotes not real apostrophes – but trying to sell by taking advantage of your audience’s real problems and concerns is just plain wrong.
The marketing and advertising world has evolved into a pool of dreadful clichés and meaningless buzzwords. There is no longer an effort to think “outside of the box” or “disruptively” – yes yes, cliché marketing words I’m aware.
Not all millennials are ukulele players/party animals/selfie takers so I would like to suggest this: a bit more of simpler, clearer language and less clichés? Wait, let me put it this way: #ClearerLanguageLessClichés.