If you’ve been watching any TV, browsing YouTube or like to click on videos that your friends on Facebook share, you’ve undoubtedly seen the new commercial for Joe Boxer brand boxer shorts. It starts out with six good looking guys in tuxes sitting at a table ringing bells. After the quick intro song is over, the table is pulled away revealing that the gentlemen are wearing nothing but boxer shorts on the bottom (Joe Boxer brand, of course). They then begin gyrating their hips, which causes their ‘bells’ to ring to the tune of Jingle Bells.
As soon as the advertisement was released it sparked a huge number of posts to the k-mart Facebook page (Joe Boxer is sold exclusively at K-Mart and Sears stores). The responses were mixed, with some people saying the commercial was crude, offensive and unnecessary. Others loved the clever commercial and thought it was funny.
So, was this a smart marketing move by Joe Boxer, or are they alienating a segment of their customers? We won’t know for sure for a while, but I’d be willing to bet that this campaign will be extremely successful. Why? Whenever you have a commercial or other marketing tactic that is even remotely objectionable, you’ll get people who love it and others who hate it. The trick, however, is to find that perfect level of funny and controversial so that fans of the commercial will share it with their friends because they think it is funny. Those who think the commercial is offensive will also likely share it to discuss their outrage.
Joe Boxer got this perfect, which is why it is going viral. Over the last 48 hours I’ve seen this commercial not just on television, but also shared on Facebook and even on a variety of different national and local news sites. Whatever Joe Boxer paid to create and run this commercial was money well spent. It is being seen by millions of people in a wide range of different formats.
To make it even better, the commercial really isn’t so offensive that it will likely drive too many real customers away. Even those who say they are offended will likely forget about it shortly after posting, and go back to shop at K-Mart for a nice pair of boxers.
Hopefully this commercial will inspire marketers everywhere to really take advantage of that fine line between cute and controversial. While it does have some risks to it, it can be extremely rewarding.
What about you? Have you ever promoted a product using this type of ‘questionable’ marketing? If so, what were the results? Please, share your experience or opinion in the comments below.