Hit by lightning, bitten by a cobra, and ridiculously popular on YouTube

Growing up, the term “bad” meant good. As in, “That car is bad, man.” The cool factor has long worn off for this term, but I’m seeing a resemblance with the word “ridiculous.” The more ridiculous something is, the more attention it receives. “Did you see that play by Steph Curry? It was ridiculous!” Or “Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was ridiculous! Best of the season!”

This trend is not only taking over your Gchat conversations, it’s also making strides in advertising, marketing and social media. For an example, we have to look no further than last summer’s viral hit the Ice Bucket Challenge. That one was so successful, it started to make pouring an ice cold bucket of water over your own head seem, well, not ridiculous.

How can you stand out amongst your competitors? Do something different and don’t be afraid to go against the grain. Put yourself at either end of the spectrum—amazing to awful—because either will be “ridiculous” and both will be memorable.

Just don’t get lost in the forgettable middle.

My current favorite piece of ridiculousness is – Kung Fury, 2015

Kung Fury is a Swedish, martial arts, comedic, short film (enough adjectives?) written, directed by, and starring David Sandberg. It has had over 15 million views in the past 20 days and it’s by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever watched. But not so ridiculous that it couldn’t be screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Seriously, check it out. It also got the attention of David Hasselhoff who watched the first 15 seconds of the 2013 trailer, and said, “I’m in.’” His music video ’TRUE SURVIVOR’ has also over 15 million views to help hype up the short film.

If you don’t think it’s an absolutely ridiculous piece of glorious cinema, reach out to me on Twitter (@MattGustavsen) and we’ll hash[tag] it out.

To throw it back a little bit, William Hung set the stage for ridiculousness in season three of American Idol.

The 2004 contestant gained fame because of his audition performance of “She Bangs” by Ricky Martin. His performance was not great, nor was it good. It was horrendous. But, his audition won him the support of fans, which then snowballed into three albums with Koch Entertainment. American Idol knows its audience well. The show features the most ridiculous auditions from the best and worst contestants, but never the middle ground.

Old Spice advertising campaign from 2010.

Old Spice was a well-established brand, but they were associated with elderly men and the scent of every grandfather in America. Wieden + Kennedy helped transform their brand in 2008 with the “Old Spice Swagger” campaign and even more so with “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” from 2010.

This campaign helped boost overall sales for Old Spice body-wash products by 11 percent in the first 12 months of its inception. There was nothing safe, and a lot of things ridiculous, about this change in direction. But taking that risk helped Old Spice thrive in a competitive environment.

If you’re looking to create attention for your brand, do something different. Do something unexpected. Do something ridiculous.

But first go watch Kung Fury.

Matt Gustavsen

About Matt Gustavsen

Growing up under the influence of Boston sports' teams, 80's comic book art, Super Mario Bros., and Shogun Warriors – Matt has immersed himself in world full of creative stories, imagination, and competitive challenges. Combined with over 15 years of professional experience in print design and digital marketing, Matt has a knack for out-of-the-box thinking.

Learn more about Matt

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