If you stop and think about it, #MadMen’s #ZouBisouBisou scene can teach us a lot about marketing. Skeptical? Give me some room here to explain.
As Megan Draper’s character says in the scene:
“Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre!”
For those of you who didn’t catch the season premiere episode, Don Draper’s young wife, Megan Draper, sang the French song “Zou Bisou Bisou” with accompanying burlesque-style dance moves during her husband’s surprise birthday party – which she had orchestrated. From Don’s facial expressions and body language throughout, it seemed all at once both a titillating and uncomfortable experience – not only for Don, but also for the room full of party guests.
What four marketing lessons can we derive from this?
Four juicy ones.
Both what to do, and what NOT to do.
1). “UN”: Never forget who your target audience is.
If Megan’s goal was to get most of the people in the room other than her husband to lust after her, then mission accomplished. Yet she seemed genuinely disappointed that Don brushes her off at bedtime after the party. So much so that – still steaming the next day – she resorts to cleaning the house in a provocative way to get the attention from him that she really wanted the night before.
Megan lost sight of her target audience and goal.
While it may be good to get a group reaction if you’re defining success by large numbers alone, if your success metrics involve capturing specific responder(s’) engagement, marketers need to remember to play to that target instead of trying to appeal to the larger group.
2). “DEUX”: Leaving a little something to the imagination (in public) is often a good strategy.
As sexy as Megan’s song and dance was, she actually showed very little skin during the routine. Some leg, yes, but she was mostly covered up – not exposing everything. While there is a certain style of blogging that is “warts and all” that does work for some brands – and for some solo-preneurs with keen personal branding – for most brands, leaving something to the imagination when interacting in public is a better fit.
Especially for some of the larger brands.
This is not to suggest that brands should willfully mislead the public, as there are many reasons – both moral and business reasons – to not mislead.
Including a potential Public Relations and/or Legal nightmare waiting to happen.
It’s not about misleading, but rather, leaving the audience wondering a bit, wanting more, and also – especially for luxury and high-prestige brands – creating a sort of mystique and curiosity.
3). “TROIS”: If marketing has a big enough reaction, it will invite parody – embrace it with a sense of humor.
For someone so bold the night before, Megan seemed uptight and humorless when she got feedback the next day. Brands (and people) that make big, provocative impressions need to prepare for parody – and take it in stride with a good sense of humor.
Not taking yourself so seriously – for both brands and people – is a very endearing trait.
Certainly, you shouldn’t be surprised to get some “creative feedback” to a viral campaign.
4). “QUATRE” : Visuals and audiovisuals are important, effective, and memorable.
It is likely that a good portion of the Mad Men viewing audience does not speak or understand French fluently (and probably many of the characters in the scene’s audience, as well), yet the response to Megan’s song – sung entirely “en Francais” – was palpable.
The online reaction was so strong, it included a #zoubisoubisou Twitter hashtag and numerous social posts – even days after the episode aired (including several of mine!).
Why is this?
The visuals and audiovisuals were what made the performance so provocative and memorable. The manner of the presentation of the message was key. When you’re preparing a marketing presentation and/or advertisement, put considerable energy into the visuals and audiovisuals.
They’re powerful – and shouldn’t be afterthoughts simply overlaying the message.
Sometimes, they can BE the message.
So, there you have it, four marketing lessons we can learn from #MadMen’s #ZouBisouBisou. And you thought it was just a playful French song…
By the way – don’t pretend you haven’t been humming the song all week.
I sure know I have.
Song stuck in your head? Another marketing lesson left to be said? You can sing along with Stephanie on Twitter.