"Happy" Content and Direct Marketing

Pop culture icons, news headlines, or politics work to get attention.

The other day on a marketing team conference call, someone asked if everyone was happy. I said, “sure!” and remarked how a recent song, “Happy”—the infectious hit by Pharrell Williams—had been playing in my mind all day. 

No one on the call had heard of “Happy.” Maybe you already know this, but “Happy” is a #1 song from the hit movie Despicable Me 2, and was showcased on the Oscars. That was the first time I heard the song and experienced its energy. The official Happy Music Video has been viewed over 200 million times on YouTube. 

Listening to this song got me to thinking about the use of pop culture, news and politics in content and direct marketing messages, and this subject is the title of my blog at Target Marketing Magazine this week titled Pop Culture, News and Politics in Content and Direct Marketing.

Feel-good pop culture at one end of the spectrum, and negative headlines, at the opposite end, are proven to work. It’s all a part of the way our brains are wired with the left amygdala reacting to positive messages and the right amygdala engaged with negative messages. So as you look for ways to make content and direct marketing work for you, consider the possibilities:

  1. News headlines: borrowing from the news shows your audience that you’re timely. Headlines can be either positive or negative. 
  2. Politics: be careful with this one, but you can grab attention when you put a political spin on your story. This is usually negative, and why negative ads during campaigns are used (and work – it’s how our brains are wired).
  3. Pop culture: Feel-good happy moments are few and far between. People embrace positive news, especially in social media. Pop culture can be a big winner when you need to grab onto something positive (even if possibly outrageous).

Obviously, the hard news/politics/pop culture combination doesn’t work for everyone or every product. But, if you want attention, consider how you can ramp up your content and direct marketing messaging with pop culture, news or politics.

Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.