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Can You Annoy Yourself into the Hearts of Your Customer?


Friday, Friday, getting down on Friday…

Love her or hate her, Rebecca Black has annoyed herself into the public consciousness with her infectious hit “Friday”, which has turned into a party anthem of sorts for teens and tweens around the world while simultaneously turning off most of the adult population.

Taking Ms. Black as an example, one would think that being utterly irritating could be an effective way of making an individual, or a brand, memorable.

If you’ve ever watched the webuyanycar.com and gocompare.com, you may understand where we’re going with this. Both these campaigns feature incredibly annoying jingles; a tuneless but sticks-in-your-head-type rap number and an inane faux musical solo performed by “Gio Comparo”, a mustachioed maniac dressed like an opera singer.

But while you may want to go out and run over the next person who chants the jingle from the webuyanycar.com commercial (incidentally voted the most irritating ad of 2011), it is now the most recognised car buyer in the UK.

And no matter how badly panned the advertising was, brand awareness for Go Compare rose 450% as a direct result of the campaign; customer count increased by 20% within the first three months.

If the most important thing for you in terms of your brand is to increase recall, effectively cut through the clutter and stand out, then going down the irritation route may seem like a sound strategy. After all, commercials like these are often talked about and shared, allowing the brand to garner word-of-mouth and enjoy free advertising. And the more people talk about a brand, the more likely it will come to mind the next time they’re looking for a particular product or service.

But if you’re thinking about building an emotional connection with your customers and building up a brand that they will love and rave about, then doing something that elicits irritated responses or negative reactions just to spark off conversation may not be your best option.

It’s only because you CAN actually do something that’s engaging, relevant, entertaining, and yes, memorable, without being ludicrously annoying. Chuck Testa did it with his bizarre low-budget commercial for taxidermy; on the other end of the spectrum, budget-wise, Heineken made waves with its multi-layered The Entrance campaign.

So will you turn your brand into the next Rebecca Black, or move it beyond being a one-hit wonder?

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