Lauren Ackerman, Web Content Specialist

In the quiet, quaint, dry-until-a-year-ago town of Ephraim, Wisconsin, there is a soup bar called Czarnuszka Soup. A recent ad mentions that the restaurant seats 11, but having been there, I think 11 is a stretch. Weekly, the owner (Paul Wanish) publishes ads that would never be approved by anyone in advertising, ever.

But as the sole owner and default designer, Paul answers to no one. And so into the Door County Pulse the ads go. Then he snaps a photo and republishes them on Instagram and Facebook.

Non-sequiturs accompanied by unrelated images: a snow-covered bus, a skyscraper, a mustachioed man. “Eat here & die someday. That’s our guarantee.”

When the ads actually mention the soup, it’s to denigrate it:
“Our soups are horrible. Go eat somewhere else.”
“Most flavorless soup in the county! For flavor sample, simply taste this ad.”


If you were of a mind to ignore the advice and go anyway, the ads give no indication as to where the soup bar is located. Needless to say, there is no CTA or value proposition.

Czarnuszka Soup bar has 827 Instagram and 1,413 Facebook followers. Which is almost zero in the world of social media marketing, but it’s five times the population of the entire village where the soup bar is nestled. And regardless of (or in spite of) the ads, Czarnuszka Soup bar is thriving. Maybe because contrary to the ad copy, the soup is phenomenal.

The lesson is this: Sometimes performing for a niche audience has better returns. We’ve all seen where playing to the masses leads… We end up with things like BuzzFeed, People magazine, TMZ and the Kardashians.

I propose that outsider advertising exists – similar to outsider art which was first coined in the 1970s. It’s not made by marketing execs or graphic designers, and it certainly isn’t created in an agency, but it’s advertising nonetheless.

Despite all its success, Czarnuszka doesn’t seem interested in hiring a marketing agency to create some slick, value-proposition-slinging ads. And that’s grand.

So here’s to unfiltered marketing. Of single-person approval process. Of creating something that makes you laugh or cry or even scratch your head in confusion. Any reaction is better than blankly looking past it. Weird is better than bland. Always. Otherwise, what’s the point?


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