Lois Brayfield, CEO

And be disruptive.

Yes, that was a disruptive headline and most likely got your attention. Now, I’m really not suggesting you get naked, but I do promise naked people will come in later in this post. But first, let’s talk about how hard marketing has become.

Marketing is tough. It’s just plain hard, and there are no cookie-cutter solutions or guaranteed formulas we can rely on. What makes matters worse is that our attention is bombarded with news of hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings, strange politics, the list goes on.

Current events hit me personally, as my home on the island of St. John in the Virgin Islands was hit by TWO Category 5 hurricanes. I’m fortunate that the damage was minimal. For the last two months, I have become blind to ANY type of advertising and the thought of spending any money has been the last thing on my mind. Many of you reading this have most likely been affected by one of these disasters, either directly or peripherally.

As marketers, how do we combat advertising blindness? One way is to be disruptive.

As news came in about my villa, I learned that I had to purchase new living room furniture because it was covered in mold. My first stop was Wayfair due to their wide range of rattan furniture. I carefully selected my furniture and placed it in the shopping cart. And then, I looked elsewhere in hopes of finding a better deal. No, I’m not really loyal to any furniture brand. A few hours later, I was on Facebook trying to get updated news of my beloved island, and guess what popped up in my feed? An ad from Wayfair with my beautiful rattan furniture. Did it work? Yep! I decided my time was more important than saving a few dollars. This disruptive ad did exactly what it was supposed to do.

I believe the only job harder than a marketer’s might be that of a flight attendant who has to try and “sell” their pre-flight instructions. How many times have you completely blocked out their airline PSA, even though it might be a matter of life or death? If you are lucky enough to be on a Southwest Airlines flight with a jovial flight attendant, you’ve seen first-hand how they are able to disrupt customer apathy with humor.

So, as promised, let’s talk about naked people. Air New Zealand combatted the pre-flight announcement with a clever video, complete with naked flight attendants. Well, not completely naked, but their uniforms were tastefully outfitted body paint. I’ll share the link at the end so you won’t abandon my post before learning five ways that you, too, can be disruptive in this crazy world.

  1. Be bold. Find a way to stand out no matter what.
  2. Take risks. This is similar to the first suggestion, but taking a risk is, well, riskier. Don’t let the boardroom talk you out of taking risks that might catapult your next growth spike.
  3. Be different. Air New Zealand could have copied Southwest Airlines, but once something has been done, it’s no longer disruptive.
  4. Be nimble. Take advantage of current events and be willing to shift gears immediately if there is a correlating message your customers might appreciate. After this brutal hurricane season, several brands created messaging that demonstrated compassion.
  5. Never rest. If you were lucky enough to strike it big with an incredible disruptive campaign, don’t rest on your laurels. ALWAYS be looking for your next opportunity.

If you are interested in breakthrough ideas, let our super creative team help you ideate a few fresh ones! Shoot me a note to chat at loisb@jschmid.com

Otherwise, here’s the link to the naked people of Air New Zealand. And, as an extra bonus, click here to see the continuation of this clever campaign.


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