Skip to main content

Punk Cause Marketing

How do you make it in the music business?
  • Use to be you were an ‘overnight success’ discovered in the clubs by an A&R guy from the record company after living in your van for 12 years. The record companies would promote you and if you sold millions, you got rich and died drunk in a tragic airplane accident.

  • In the last few years, you could try out for American Idol (or its many extensions worldwide) and be humiliated by Simon Cowell on national TV.

  • Now, you can open a Myspace page for free. Shoot your own bare bones music video for maybe $10 and post it on YouTube for free. And if it’s authentic and unique and it somehow speaks to an audience, you get millions of downloads and appear on national TV!

That’s what happened to Tay Zonday, erstwhile PhD student and Internet impresario, who’s hit it big with ‘Chocolate Rain.’ Zonday… a stage name for Adam Bahner… looks like Urkel and sounds like Barry White. And the lyrics make just enough sense that they pass for profundity. The video quality is so poor that when you see it for the first thought you wonder if it’s even real.

But it’s been downloaded nearly 6 million times! And last week Tay Zonday made his national TV debut on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’ He’s started performing for paying audiences, too.

Here’s the biggest head-scratcher of all. Zonday posted Chocolate Rain on YouTube back in January 2007 but it didn’t become a hit until unrelated people started making parodies of it! One of them was by Green Day’s Tre Cool, a mainstream recording artist of the type listed above.

If you’re a marketer [cause or otherwise] how do you make sense of this? Tay Zonday never bought any television, radio, or newspaper ads. Nobody paid Tre Cool to make his parody.

It’s a wacky, weird, scary new world where everything marketers used to know has been turned on its head.

Fortunately a small chorus of voices has have stepped in to help, including the always insightful Seth Godin, and Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons, authors of the intriguing book Punk Marketing.

Laermer and Simmons list 14 manifestos for these upside-down times:

Avoid Risk and Die
In times of change the greatest risk is to take none at all.

Why Not Ask ‘Why Not?’
Assumptions are just that. Anything you assume is usually a half-truth or generalizations that once served a useful purpose but now hinders truly creative solutions.

Take a Strong Stand
Trying to be all things to everyone on the planet inevitably results in meaning little of interest to just about anybody.

Don’t Pander
Customers are important but they are not necessarily right.

Give Up Control
Consumers now control brands. Smart marketers recognize this and embrace it rather than fight the powerful truth.

Expose Yourself
A relationship of trust between brand and consumer, like that between two people, is built upon honesty.

Make Enemies
All brands need to position themselves against an alternative.

Leave Them Wanting More
Avoid the temptation to reveal all of your assets at once. Or as the masters have said: You don’t teach them everything you know. You teach them everything they

Outthink the Competition
Think smarter than the other dude. Do not be led into temptation by the fast buck and don’t try and outspend them.

Don’t Be Seduced By Technology
The media is not the message anymore. The message is the message is the message.

Know Who You Are
If you don’t understand what it is that you are good at you might be tempted to try and be something you are not.

No More Marketing Bull****
Get to the point. Express it clearly and simply. Einstein said — we believe he meant marketers: “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”

Don’t Let Others Set Your Standards
Sorry to tell you this but good no longer means anything while mediocre does more harm than doing nothing.

Use the Tools Of The Revolution
Nothing that captivates should be excluded.
What does this mean for cause marketers? Well, at the core of Punk Marketing is the concept of ‘authenticity.’ That’s a fancy way of saying don’t lie. It also means to be true to what you are.

Keep that in mind as you post videos from your cause-related marketing campaigns on YouTube or invite people to join your cause at MySpace.


Popular posts from this blog

Three Ways to Be Charitable

I’ve spent a big chunk of my career working with or for charities. Many of my dearest and ablest friends are in the charity ‘space.’ And the creativity and problem-solving coming out of the nonprofit sector has never been greater.  Although I’ve had numerous nonprofit clients over the last decade or so, I haven’t worked in a charity for about 12 years now, which gives me a certain distance. Distance lends perspective and consequently, I get a lot of people asking me which charities I recommend for donations of money or time. My usual answer is, “it depends.” “On what?” they respond. “On what you want from your charitable activities,” I reply. It sounds like a weaselly consultant kind of an answer, but bear with me for a moment. The English word charity comes from the Latin word caritas and means “from the heart,” implying a voluntary act. Caritas is the same root word for cherish. The Jews come at charity from a different direction. The Hebrew word that is usually rendered as charity is t…

Top Eight Cause-Related Marketing Campaigns of 2007

Yeah, You Read it Right. It's a Top 8 List.

More cause-related marketing campaigns are unveiled every day across the world than I review in a year at the cause-related marketing blog. And, frankly, I don’t see very many campaigns from outside North America. So I won’t pretend that my annual list of the top cause-related marketing campaigns is exhaustive.

But, like any other self-respecting blogger, I won’t let my superficial purview stop me from drawing my own tortured conclusions!

So… cue the drumroll (and the dismissive snickers)… without further ado, here is my list of the eight best cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007.

My list of the worst cause-related marketing campaigns of 2007 follows on Thursday.

Chilis and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
I was delighted by the scope of Chilis’ campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As you walked in you saw the servers adorned in black co-branded shirts. Other elements included message points on the Chilis beverage coas…

Five Steps To Nurture a 30-Year Cause Marketing Relationship

Last Monday, July 22, 2013, March of Dimes released the annual results of its campaign with Kmart... now in its thirtieth year... and thereby begged the question, what does it takes to have a multi-decade cause marketing relationship between a cause and a sponsor?

In the most recent year, Kmart,the discount retailer, donated $7.4 million to the March of Dimes, bringing the 30-year total to nearly $114 million. March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Too many cause marketing relationships, in my estimation, resemble speed-dating more than long-term marriage. There can be good reasons for short-term cause marketing relationships. But most causes and sponsors benefit more from long-term marriages than short-term hookups, the main benefit being continuity. Cause marketing trades on the trust that people, usually consumers, put in the cause and the sponsor. The longer the relationship lasts the more trust is evidenced.

There's also a sponsor finding cost that…