At a recent BNI (Business Networking International) meeting, it was my turn to deliver a ten minute talk, rather than the usual 45 second “Here’s who I an, here’s what I do, here’s how you can help” pitch.
Among the things I talked about was the idea that “Relevant Shock” is a good creative tool. The example I used was Santa Claus. See him Christmas time, and it is relevant, but not particularly shocking. See Santa on the beach in July, and it is shocking, but not particularly relevant to anything. What you should strive for is an idea that is both.
At the end of my presentation, someone asked for an example of Relevant Shock, and I had nothing! Part of it was because I often skipped through commercials, and so none were fresh in my mind. And part of the reason was that I was so used to talking about Santa Claus, I hadn’t thought about current real life examples. (Spoiler alert, kids: Santa Claus is not real.)
However, I have been thinking about an answer, though I am sure that the person who asked the question has forgotten he asked, and I hope has also forgotten the bewildered look on my face. So here are three examples:
- Snickers has a great campaign (“You’re not you when you’re hungry) that is relevant (it’s an answer to quickly satisfying your appetite). And with their clever use of celebrities, it is also unexpected.
- Netflix ran a bunch of billboards in Los Angeles proclaiming: “Netflix Is a Joke” The payoff was a commercial on the Emmys that touted their comedy specials. Relevant indeed, and certainly shocking for the “serious” network we all know.
- And, at the risk of seeming self-serving, I want to talk about one of my own Relevant Shock ideas. It was for Bonita Porte’s Energetics, an in-home personal training company based in Manhattan that focuses on children and teens. The idea was to print her business card using a tear proof card stock. As you can see from the image above, the relevant challenge was stated on the front: “Can’t tear this card? It’s time for Bonita Porte’s Energetics.”
Kids loved trying. Parents loved trying. And there was no one who was handed the card that did not take the challenge. (Three people actually managed to tear the card, so I guess they should call it almost-tear proof.)
Point is, Relevant Shock does not have to rely on big names and costly media buys. Just a good idea.