MailChimp: You’re-in-or-you’re-not Billboard

I love minimalistic billboard advertisements. It is always a treat to see a billboard that can make heavy impacts through the use of little to no text and often times, strategic placement of blank space. I enjoy them because of the “Hah!” moments they give as I ponder on the intentions that go behind the creation of them. Apple and its iTunes – The Beatles billboard is one of my favorites.

I saw another favorite today on the 101. It was a picture of a head of a monkey wearing a mailman’s hat. Not a single letter in sight. It took me a second to realize that it was the monkey from MailChimp. And then another second to give myself a pat on the back to have called out the brand. And then I realized how brilliant it was of the company to be spending probably $30k-$50k a month to NOT show their brand name to thousands of people every day.

If you are an email marketer, you know you have a lot of email service providers to choose from. And if you are an email marketer, chances are you have come across MailChimp. Of course you pick your service provider based on features, costs, reliability, and so on. But with how every provider trying to measure up to each other, they have all become generic. MailChimp doesn’t need accountants or plumbers to “get” its billboard. It targets specifically email marketers, and this billboard makes its target audience feel special. If you’ve never worked in email marketing, you have no clue what we know. You’re not “in”. Hah!

Now suddenly you want to be associated with MailChimp and the “in” group. This makes you feel cool and all that. So next time you need to switch provider, guess who you are going to consider!? Or if you are already their customer, then this brand reinforcement is just a confirmation of how great of a decision you have made.

It scares me and fascinates me at the same time to see how marketing in general and advertising in particular becoming more and more psychologically and emotionally complex. It is not adequate anymore to just communicate out the awesomeness of your product. You have to be much more effective in connecting on deeper levels with your audience on that first encounter in order to capture their tiny flash of attention.

Are marketers simply trying to adapt to the changes in our brains and societies, or are they taking the lead in making our lives more complicated? The egg or the chicken?

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