Obscenities in marketing: F*ck or no F*ck? | Digital Monkey

Obscenities in marketing: F*ck or no F*ck?

Published 19/06/2017
Obscenities in marketing: F*ck or no F*ck?

Curse words in marketing resemble walking a tightrope without insurance. If you are lucky, you will reach the end, enhancing your ego-strength, and gaining the admiration of people around you. If you fall in the middle, you risk damaging vital body parts, and people can call you a fool. As only a fool can walk a tightrope without insurance. So is it worth using curse words to promote a brand? Let’s study several examples and examine research findings.

How can marketing benefit from curse words?

Doug Kessler, creative director of Velocity Partners, believes that curse words create a fabulous surprise effect. Any advertisement embellished with curse words is instantly remembered and will be always associated with the brand that created it.

It is explained by the fact that people love using obscenities. According to statistics, 3.4% of words we daily use are curse words. For comparison: only 1% of uttered words are personal pronouns. It means that people swear more often than talk about themselves. Curse words are our inherent part; therefore, the brand that uses them seems to be closer and dearer.

Curse words do not speak of foolishness

It sounds like an attempt of supporters of obscenities to justify themselves, but in fact, it was proved by social studies. Thus, specialists of Marist College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts revealed that the more curse words a person uses, the wider and more diversified is his word-stock. Besides, the wide usage of curse words speaks of a high verbal fluency.

And only being a rather smart person, one can come up with such an advertising video as the one below. Watch it and see how smartly obscenities can be used in advertising.

So what is the conclusion?

Despite all apparent advantages, many people are very skeptical about the use of curse words in the marketing strategy. Especially negative attitude towards advertising with swear words is seen in relation to family-oriented brands.

Thus, Kmart uses a suggestive phrase to promote online shopping. As a result, if you look at its advertising banners, you will not see anything inappropriate, but if you read them carefully and grasp the meaning, you will see something interesting.

Obscenities in marketing: F*ck or no F*ck?

The following conclusion can be drawn: in case of a correct approach to using curse words, almost any product, service, or brand can be promoted. However, that is a very complicated task. If you are not sure that you can fulfil it at an appropriate level, you should better not try.


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