How doing the opposite will guide your brand. 

By Luke Sklar and Amber Hudson

Amy Winehouse had a hit song about it, Lindsay Lohan escapes jail time by going there, A&E’s Intervention makes it look like paradise on the beach, there’s a celebrity reality show and an MTV reality show, even a dance club in Oakville and Vegas (Oakville!?!). 

I’m talking about Rehab. 

Dude, what is up with that?!  Our society has fully glorified rehab; a place that uses hard core medical and/or psychotherapeutic therapies to treat people with serious, life threatening addictions.  

What’s the insight?  There is obvious consumer appeal….so what should marketers do? 

In a previous post we talked about “if it bleeds it leads.”  I still can’t figure out why, and I’m not about to dust off my psych 101 books and get all psychoanalytical.  But when I think about pop culture, which loves to make famous people look bad, and the average Joe who immediately feels better about himself when someone else is tipping into the brink of disaster it makes me wonder why brands do the opposite.  Great brands are eternal optimists.  Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Disney.   The same person who revels in schadenfreude wouldn’t buy a brand that is negative or embarrassing.  Then again, what if Mickey started smoking a joint… 

I suppose we require both to feel REALLY good about ourselves:   reality TV showing addicts falling into the gutter, overweight brides, dumped good girls AND paste that whitens your teeth, creams that smooth away fine lines, g-rated cartoon characters that make you chuckle. 

The lesson?  In a world of craptality TV your brand needs to be the eternal optimist.  Be real, tell the truth, but be positive.  Brands that remind you of bad news – bah, we don’t believe in ‘em!  People are painfully aware of their problems, brands need to find optimistic solutions.  Hey, why not take a lesson from George Costanza and make it Opposite Day.  Do the opposite of what pop culture does:  celebrate the good, the positive, the happy.  

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