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The Lead Generation Company: June Marketing Spotlight

From peak rainbow-washing to utterly horrifying mascots, to the vampire movie that Roger Ebert surely gave a standing ovation in his grave, June’s been quite the rollercoaster. Here’s what caught our eye in the world of marketing this month.

Rainbow Washing: The Final Bun-tier

We all know the routine when it comes to Pride Month marketing. A brand makes their logo rainbow coloured, doesn’t do much else, and then as soon as the month is over they shout ‘Hey, look over there! Is that Shawn Mendes?’ to distract everyone while they swiftly change their logo back to the way it was. 

People have long been taking to social media to call brands out for such ‘rainbow-washing’. Alas, it’s a Pride Month staple. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with changing your logo so it’s rainbow-coloured (some of them look really nice!), but many consumers agree that if that’s all a brand is doing for Pride Month, then it feels a little hollow.

Some brands, though, go above and beyond to put their foot in their mouth. This year, Burger King Austria may very well take the crown for the most poorly judged Pride campaign in recent memory.

The ads in question were flaunting the ‘Pride Whopper’. What was so unique about the Pride Whopper, you might ask? They had matching buns. Same-bun Whoppers. Pictured in the ad was one Whopper with two top buns, and one Whopper with two bottom buns. 

After confirming that the ad was indeed real, many on Twitter were quick to point out how such a campaign could be… misinterpreted. Indeed, as part of their apology, Burger King Austria admitted that in designing the ad, they “didn’t check well enough with community members on different interpretations of the Pride Whopper”. Ah, hindsight. 

Dr. Morbius or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Re-release the Bomb

The latest movie set in Sony’s Spiderman universe, Morbius, was being memed even before its release. It seemed like very few were (vocally) excited for its release, and many were certain it would be a so-bad-it’s-funny bomb. That’s when the jokes started, ironically poising Morbius as Sony’s next smash hit, one that would not only beat Avengers: Endgame as the highest-grossing superhero movie but obliterate it. 

Then it came out, and it didn’t bomb necessarily ($160 million globally), but once word had spread that it was as underwhelming as people had expected, it suffered the second-worst drop-off for a superhero movie following its opening weekend.

Naturally, the memes continued, the most prominent being Morbius’s iconic catchphrase, ‘It’s Morbin’ time!’, a phrase uttered at no point in the actual movie. It seemed the perfect movie to poke fun at, and the internet delighted in doing so.

In a rather unfortunate turn, though, Sony seemed to interpret the memes as people laughing with Morbius, and not at Morbius. In a brazen act of glory, they re-released the movie to 1,000 theatres, and… it bombed. Of course! 

In some cases, memes can be more effective marketing than any ad campaign. But if companies can learn anything from the disaster that was Morbius, it’s that sometimes, you should probably read the room. 

Zurich: In With the Old

Zurich set the bar remarkably high this month for sustainability by releasing an ad campaign using exclusively reused footage. The intent was to reduce their production of carbon by minimising the need for on-location shoots, as well as the transport those shoots would have entailed. 

The ad revolved around the idea of sustainable living for a better tomorrow. This is just another step in the financial services firm’s strive to be a force for social and environmental progress. They’d previously committed to a 70% reduction in emissions from air travel.

If we’re being entirely realistic, this kind of campaign wouldn’t really be feasible for a lot of brands. Brands like Zurich, and most financial services firms, often get away with using generic, middle-of-the-road footage like this in their ads. It’s kind of the standard. In fact, if someone told us that most ads for companies like Zurich had for years been using exclusively reused footage, we probably wouldn’t bat an eye. 

At the risk of coming across as too cynical, though, we actually decided to use an entirely reused copy for this very blog! It makes a lot more sense now than when we originally wrote it, in 2007. Worth the wait!

Un-Nerfing 

Nerf unveiled its official mascot this month, both in real life and in the nightmares of many. 

Fans are divided on Murph. Extremely divided. Twitter user @WaffleSmol, responding to a picture of the new mascot shared by @DiscussingFilm (DiscussingTheNerfMascot must have been taken), said ‘i would give my entire life for Murph’. It’s unclear at this time whether Murph actually asked them to do that, but it’s a nice sentiment nonetheless. 

People also said things like ‘I’m gonna attack him with hammers’ (@Garf4153), though, which seems unfair. Also ‘something about it makes me extremely uncomfortable’ (@bonexseasons), which isn’t a very nice thing to say about Murph.