Leave it to those wild ‘n’ wacky Germans to always be so dang innovative and uber-cool. But it’s not all gummi bears, bratwurst, and three-ring binders. (Yup, they even invented those.) Think Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Puma, Henkels, Hugo Boss, Siemens, T*Mobile (who knew?), and a long list of popular global brands that surprisingly hail from Deutschland. One that’s near and dear to me is Volkswagen — my very first car was a classic 1972 fire engine red VW Beetle with white leather interior. Talk about kickass. The brand single-handedly revolutionized the advertising industry back in 1960 with the following campaign: At first glance, one might assume VW is calling their own product a lemon, but further reading discloses the rigorous inspection program every car endures, concluding with this little gem. “We pluck the lemons; you get the plums.” Brilliant. The man behind the ad, William Bernbach of the Doyle Dane Bernbach agency (he’s considered the father of the “creative revolution”), explained that one must learn how a product relates to the target audience. Seems simple enough, but how he conveyed that information ushered in a brand-new era of advertising. But this isn’t 1960 and, most likely, you aren’t selling cars.
Factor in another fun tidbit — we’ve expanded the playing field. Just a tad. The Internet and the social media platforms it’s spawned are more prolific than cockroach farms in China. Regardless of industry, connecting with your demographic via social media could be as daunting as selling German cars to Americans shortly after World War II. So what’s the solution? Fast forward to February 2014, when another gem of pure genius poked it’s viral little head right out of … you guessed it, the land of Neuschwantstein. The Edeka grocery chain (7,000 stores throughout Germany) debuted “Supergeil,” a super savvy, super cool, and super funny video that abandons tradition for a more youth-oriented image. (Translation: super wicked, awesome, terrific, and, believe it or not, horny. Oh, yeah.)
Call it twisted whimsy or an obviously insightful ploy to turn grocery shopping into entertainment (not to mention the country’s adorably blasé attitude toward sexual entendre), but at nearly 10 million YouTube views and growing, it’s safe to say Edeka’s mashup of marketing and edgy humor is super successful. Add to that the fact that 64% of all viewers make a purchase after watching videos, and I’m guessing Edeka’s world domination isn’t too far off.
See what all the buzz is about:
Quick question: do you even care what Friedrich Liechtenstein, the 58-year-old musician/actor/part-time TV host, is singing about? Neither do I. Point is, you can’t stop watching. Particularly the milk bath with muesli part. (My fave. Yum.) Pharrell may be “Happy,” but let’s do the super math here. Germany’s version of “Gangnam Style” solicited a damn nice ROI for Edeka, no? That’s a lot of spaetzle, mein liebchens.
So what’s today’s lesson? (There’s always a lesson.) Hire a quirky, middle-aged personality willing to make zuber zany music videos? (We know a funny one.) Yes, that’s a great start — but it’s also about companies thinking beyond their comfort zone, especially when hoping to shake things up. This could be a long shot, but I think six million-plus customers would certainly get things shaking. (Perhaps even escalate to high frappé.)
Why not emulate Edeka? Throw tradition to the curb, incorporate titillating videos that connect in unexpected ways, and contact Splinkink for the uber-brilliant gameplan that gets you going … because “status quo” is as exciting as moldy sauerkraut.