Is Toeing The Line The New Advertising Trend?

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data overload

I’m not sure about you, but I find myself wondering how many commercials got approved for mass distribution. So many seem to be lacking any sort of creativity, or thought.

And then there are a select few that are very clever; perhaps by toeing the line. But is this in-your-face advertising what marketers need to do to catch our attention and to combat online ADD?

Warning: Data Overload!

Both people and businesses are finding it increasingly hard to keep up with the influx of constant information. It’s no wonder that we’re feeling overwhelmed.

Check out part of an infographic released by MarketingProfs in an article about drowning in data:

data overload

*To see the entire infographic, click here.

With all of this domination of data, I’ve noticed what I think to be a new advertising trend.

Tongue-In-Cheek: The New Advertising Trend?

There are a couple of distinct campaigns that have caught my eye with this possible new trend:

Kraft has a new line of commercials for Kraft Italian dressing. If you haven’t seen them, check them out by visiting YouTube.

  • The entire campaign revolves around (what I believe to be) an extremely good looking guy who is showing you all of the things you can do with Italian dressing – in a zesty and sexual innuendo filled way.
  • Kraft has even included the hashtag #LetsGetZesty with their advertising campaign, which has sparked a ton of traction on Twitter. has replaced the f-word with the word “booking” for some clever marketing and advertising.

  • If you haven’t seen the, “Booking dot com, booking dot YEAH!” commercials, check them out on YouTube.
  • Again, there’s tongue-in-cheek humor as well as a few well-placed sexual innuendos.

attention advertising

Apex Attention Grabbers

We’ve always known that sex sells. But now these snarky, below-the-belt, and read-between-the-lines commercials seem to be advertising at its finest.

What I’ve been thinking — and what you should be thinking, too — is how can I use this type of marketing in our own advertising campaigns? And should I?

There are drawbacks to think about, too. People can very easily become offended, and many times the joke (or sex) can overshadow the product. Even Kraft has come under fire with their sexy Let’s Get Zesty campaign.

In any case, here are some GOOD ways to grab attention with advertising:

  • Focus on what the customer wants (not you)
  • Give a reason, or benefit, for conversion, click, etc.
  • Use short, concise writing that is free of grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Words that work: Free, How-To, Tips, Ultimate Guide, Expert Methods, etc.
  • Ask an intriguing question
  • Always use A/B testing for best results

What are your feelings on the marketing that Kraft, and other marketers are using these days? Is it clever or crossing the line? Let me know how you feel in the comments below!

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Advertising, Marketing, Online Marketing
Tags: advertising, Paid Media
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8 Comments. Leave new

  • I personally like the Kraft commercials 😉 I have noticed a lot of advertisements, mainly on TV, going a bit below-the-belt and between-the-lines. It’s their way of selling sex without actually selling it. Clever and crafty yes, but sometimes it doesn’t always work especially when you alienate a segment of your audience that may be conservative and do not approve of that type of ad content. However, if it works and brings in profit…

    • I like them, too! I think they’re hysterical and the guy isn’t bad to look at either. 😉 I just wonder how/if we could get away with something like that. And it seems to be happening more and more often with some of these bigger brands.
      You’re right, it’s a risky game that *may* pay off with some profit!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts, Mandy!

  • You’re right, Mandy, in the respect that it doesn’t always work; but what does? If I could find a form of advertising that always worked, I’d be one very happy dude! 🙂 I personally think the more edgy forms of marketing don’t offend the vast majority of people, as long as it’s not too over-the-top. Even if you do alienate a small segment of people, those people noticed your message enough to become alienated! I think that’s always better than being completely boring and not noticed at all.

    • Michael, THANK YOU for adding your wonderful insight (and for sharing this on G+!) And I’m with ya: If something were a “go to” that constantly worked, I’d be one happy, HAPPY gal. Boring is out – innovative and interesting is IN.

  • Brooke,

    Y’know? I think it’s just fine if a couple of customers are turned off by what I do or say… because that helps me segment it down to the kind of folks I really want to work with anyway.

    The “Cool People”.

    At first I struggled when I was writing out the “Shoestring101: Five Steps to Five Figures per Month”.

    The struggle was because Step One is, “Get OFF Your ASS!”

    I was worried… just a little… that I might offend a few peeps by using the word, “ass.”

    Shucks, “ass” is in the Bible. I checked.

    Then my wife pointed out that I probably WOULD offend a great number of people. Not by saying “ass” but by suggesting that they get off it.


    So I quit worrying about it. I figger saying, “Get OFF Your ASS” as the first step saves everyone some time if they get offended and check out there. Now I’m left with the folks that aren’t easily offended OR afraid of hard work.

    Like I said… the cool people.

    Easy to see from this and from other posts on your blog that YOU’re cool people too, Brooke! Thanks for the attention you’ve been giving Shoestring101 lately, that’s greatly appreciated as well.

    Keep Stepping,

    Kurt Frankenberg recently posted…HOW do your Comments Create Value?My Profile

    • Kurt,

      I totally understand where you’re coming from. I like to write how I talk in real life and have a personality, ya know?! It’s hard sometimes. I’ll write “arse” instead of “ass” – but I really like your POV. The people who are offended can always go somewhere else – and hey, they might not be my segment of peeps anyway!

      We can’t be all things to all people, so I think once we understand that we can be more true to ourselves; which makes us more open, transparent, and in my mind, easier to trust. It’s the people who say one thing and then do the exact opposite (saying things like, “You should always think before responding when mad” … and then they’re the ones posting cryptic messages meant to burn someone) that I’m super wary of. Insecure people also make me incredibly nervous!

      Realness is cool. You’re cool. And I’m happy to receive your invite to the “cool table”! 😉 Happy to support good work and content; keep it up!

    • Totally agree, Kurt! The risky stuff is far more memorable than the ho-hum stuff everyone’s saying. We recently changed our tagline to include the word “mofo”, and so many people have tweeted us and emailed me just to comment on it — with only 1 in 15 saying that it’s offensive. The other 14 loved it!

      I don’t know about you, but the more I let myself sound like myself — with slang and transparency and everything that my friends like about me — the more people remember me, and the more my biz grows. So glad you wrote this, Brooke!
      Joanna Wiebe recently posted…Is Keyword Research Still Important Now That Google’s Encrypting All Keyword Searches?My Profile

      • Thanks for stopping by and telling your story, Joanna! You’ve intrigued me with the “mofo” in your tagline. I’m going to have to check it out!

        And I’m kinda with you on the (few) people who will find things offensive – they don’t have to read what I put out. Plenty of people like my jokes, my snark, and my humor, and 99.99% of them know it’s not meant for them, rather meant to be a fun way of teaching what’s SO-NOT-SOCIAL.

        Now off to read up on copyhackers! 🙂


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