Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Fail at Marketing, Lesson 3

Today’s lesson in how to fail at marketing is a remarkably simple one-step process:

  1. Refuse to make a single stinking lick of sense.

To illustrate this lesson, we turn to the current marketing campaign for the Kia Soul. Which of the following ideas, in your opinion, might seem a bit odd if included in a commercial intended to sell a car?

  • Heavily-armored futuristic humanoids battling giant cyborgs from outer space.
  • A smoke-filled, ash-grey, post-apocalyptic landscape.
  • Terrifyingly large, hip-hop-stylin’ mutant dancing hamsters.
  • A lime-green vehicle that, while perhaps not as ridiculous-looking as, say, an AMC Gremlin, nevertheless looks more like a rolling shoebox than an actual car.

If you answered “I don’t really know, but it’d be hilariously insane to put all of them in the same commercial,” we’re very sorry, but your ability to tell the difference between an adequate marketing approach and pure gibberish makes you overqualified for the job of marketing cars for Kia.

You’re absolutely right, this is a really bad idea. But don’t take our word for it—see for yourself:

Even if the plot (such as it is) of this commercial made any sense—if one could reasonably argue that 200-pound squirming vermin could crawl out of a shitbox car and put an end to interstellar war with nothing but funky fresh dance moves—and furthermore, if this oddball collection of misguided ideas actually reached what we assume is its target audience, study after comprehensive marketing study has shown that:

  • the target audience for violent CGI-robot war games rarely bother to leave cyberspace except to pee, and thus aren’t usually in the market for cars;
  • the target audience that’s drawn to hamsters consists of (1) your thirteen-year-old nephew with eighty feet of Habitrail tubes in his basement and (2) his equally pimply friends, and they don’t make purchasing decisions for their households; and
  • the target audience that most identifies with images of a barren, lifeless post-apocalyptic wasteland typically isn’t interested in buying a car—they’d prefer to just blow you to bits, steal your gasoline, and laugh as they ride their bikes off into the Australian Outback.

The reason he’s so pissed off? He bought a Saturn.


  1. I dunno, I kinda like the commercial... Then again, I like stupid, pointless stuff like that from time to time.

  2. The idea of living in a world with NBA-player sized mutant rodents is personally terrifying. The answer could not be more clear: We must begin to breed cats the size of Greyhound buses.

  3. The problem I foresee here is that if we continue to progress in this fashion, we'd need to swallow a horse to catch the cow that we swallowed to catch the goat that we swallowed to catch the dog that we swallowed to catch the cat that we swallowed to catch the hamster the size of Shaquille O'Neal.

    And given the size of the cat, of course, this process would be staggeringly difficult. I don't even know why she swallowed the hamster in the first place. Perhaps she'll die.