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The Age of Ahhhh-dvertising

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The Age of Ahhhh-dvertising

Dog negative space.jpgThe Age of Ahhhhh-dvertising

Recently our pin below on Pinterest went a bit viral.  Sure it’s a cool use of negative space but I’m sure what made it so shareable was the small message by Fiat in the right hand corner.  Why?  Because when it comes to getting a response on social media these days it’s all about the “ahhhhh”  factor. 


This topic came up when I was having lunch with Greg Plata of WestJet Airlines – Bronze Lions winners at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for their Christmas Miracle video.


We were discussing what makes something go viral and he referred to it as “sad”vertising. Maybe it’s my more upbeat nature, but I preferred to think of it as something that gets an emotional response – good or bad.  Hence the phrase - “ahhh”dvertising.


While I could bore you with statistics to prove this point, you just need to take a look at what your friends are sharing these days on Facebook to get a real time account of this phenomena.


So the questions becomes, how can you harness this for your business?  While Fiat (in my Pin) and WestJet with their Christmas Miracle can attest that campaigns like these positively impact their brand and therefore their bottom line, can small businesses use these form of advertising cost-effectively too?  


 The answer is, “Absolutely!”



You need to keep in mind that like any form of advertising, ahhh-dvertising can’t guarantee your campaign will go viral.  But if it’s in-line with your company’s beliefs and values it will increase your likeability factor and most likely increase your followers – 2 attributes that are proven to “warm-up” those leads and move them closer to a sale.

So here are 3 “ahhh”deas (sorry I just couldn’t resist) for your next campaign:



Ask – a small business start-up about their success with “cuteness.”  Their social media campaigns have increase their likes on their Facebook page to over 3 million and sales last year to approx. $65 million.  They attribute this success to producing cute, shareable content and then targeting their ads to this engaged audience. 


pet flow.jpg































So how can you harness cute?


  • Re-think your e-book covers from boring text and corporate pics to a kid or dog in a suit
  • Run a cutest photo, cutest kid, or cutest pet contest.
  • Re-think your social media and website photos to make them more likeable.



Do you feel strongly about changing a statistic?  FIAT did in our pin, as do companies like Dove with their Real Beauty campaign.  So did Australian Metro Trains in Melbourne Australia.  They wanted to reduce the number of senseless train accidents and decided to do so in a less than boring public service announcement and with a less than expected marketing budget.  The end result was their campaign called Dumb Ways to Die. dumb ways to die.jpg


Of course there is a cuteness factor in this as well, but the end result was getting people to pledge they would be safer around trains.


Did they succeed?


Not only did they generate over a million pledges from people to be safer around trains, there has been a 20% reduction in rail-related accidents year-on-year.  This campaign was also the top advertising campaign in the world in 2013!

  • Encourage people to take an active role in your cause (think Ice Bucket Challenge).
  • Share a story of someone or something that became part of your statistic.
  • Celebrate those that didn’t become a statistic.



There have been so many great success for companies using this technique.

blend tech.jpg

Will It Blend campaign

A phenomena for over 8 years now and it’s still going strong.












doritos goat.jpg



Goats 4 Sale


A Super Bowl Sensation













$shave club.jpg

And my all-time favourite


 Our Blades Are F***ing Great


  • Look at what all your competitors are doing and do something ELSE.
  • If there is a common warped view of your industry, address it.
  • Make your demo’s different – VERY different.








You may not be able to afford an advertising agency, but that shouldn’t stop you from striving to have your content be more shareable.  It’s a cost effective technique that can end up having a high payoff.

Cidnee is a sought after speaker on small business marketing, online marketing and content marketing.

Her style is very warm, fun, informative and simple to digest.

She has spoken at a variety of conferences including women events, travel and tourism symposiums, trade and association conferences, municipal events, and of course marketing conferences.

Having pretty much grown up on a microphone (she started in Elementary school), Cidnee loves to inspire business owners and marketing professionals to embrace the sometimes daunting and always changing marketing strategies and tactics.

With over 20 years of marketing experience there is very little she can’t talk about and she strives to always make the talk relevant to her audience.
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