How to Use Honesty and Transparency to Market Taboo Industries

We Live in a Whole New World of Marketing

In today’s world, we’re connected by technology and social media with brands, celebrities, and each other arguably in a way never seen before. It’s leading to a whole new world of honesty, transparency, and accountability that brands must seek permission to get into our little circles of influence if they want us to pay them any notice.

While consumers do love authentic representation of products, they also do not like an over-casualization of hard to market products. An example of this are those weird catheter commercials. They make the consumer feel uncomfortable in a bad way.

A good example of products that have found the perfect middle ground in this scenario are erectile dysfunction medications like Cialis and Viagra. These commercials are pretty cheesy, but they work without alienating too many people, unless you’re a sixteen year-old watching TV with your grandparents. Sorry, kid.

People find honesty so refreshing in a world that tends to be overly deceptive, but what else do consumers respond well to when marketers try to sell taboo products?

Don’t be Afraid to be Weird

If honesty is in the list of things that consumers respond well to in 2016, then being over-the-top is  Old Spice is the king of this, and Mountain Dew’s Puppy Monkey Baby is next in line for the throne. Both have had insanely successful marketing campaigns in recent history, and while neither deodorant nor energy drinks are particularly difficult products to market in nature, their success can not be denied.

Perhaps products that are more traditionally unfriendly to mass audiences could still take a page from this playbook. Can you imagine how quickly the Trojan version of puppy monkey baby would go viral?

All this being said, it isn’t enough to just be weird. Storytelling and visual content are essential.

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Visuals are Key

Take an industry such as the online casino industry.  It’s not popular in terms of mass media and marketers but they are a product that people use just like anything else, so how can they stand out?

Infographics and micro-content, especially with interesting angles are key.  Takethis example about the odds of being pulled over by the police. This is a great example because it pulls a prospective reader into a more general subject – odds and statistics – instead of a more core audience that they are already in front of.

What other kinds of visual content are popular right now, you may ask? Animated gifs are very hot right now as well – there’s a reason why Giphy recently raised a $55 million round and integrates everywhere from Twitter to Slack. You can even record your own gifs through their tool, Capture.

Videos aren’t going away anytime soon  – especially with the dawn of 360 degree videos.  Cinemagraphs are also producing big results – a mixture of still image and an element of moving video.

What are you doing to stand out in today’s world? Would love to hear from you in the comments.