A “Phony and Boring” Article


Seth Godin, the king of internet marketing, said, “If the marketplace isn’t talking about you, there’s a reason…The reason is that you’re boring.” So what do you do if you have a typical business that could be classified as boring? You need to make it stand out by doing things differently. See below for a few ways that companies are flipping the script and making creative choices in their digital marketing.

Vanity Fair

This is a very clever ad from Vanity Fair that ran on Instagram. Vanity Fair used a Trump quote that could have been very damning and used it as a headline in a digital marketing ad. For those that oppose Trump, it was almost like a sign of approval. For those that don’t follow Vanity Fair, they now seem more intriguing, like something I’d want to check out. The ad is most certainly not “phony and boring.”

Joe Dough Sandwich Shop

Here’s an example of how Joe Dough Sandwich Shop used a negative Yelp quote and turned it into its “new sales pitch.” Way to go Joe Dough!

Food Challenge Store

And what about the 100oz steak challenge? You see the absurd video title “UNDEFEATED 100oz STEAK CHALLENGE in South Dakota!!” and know it’s both A] something you need to immediately watch, and B] tempting to try. Randy Santel, aka Atlas, used this digital marketing video to showcase his foodchallengesstore.com company. The video worked – it drummed up over 700k views for his business, and Doc’s Bar in Freeman, South Dakota received a ton of secondary press. Not bad for a comped $75 steak.

Readers, how will you be different in your marketing? Will you push the envelope and try things that haven’t been done? Or will you be boring?

It’s your choice.

RJ Huebert
RJ Huebert is the founder and managing principal of HBT Digital Consulting, a Pittsburgh-based business. A digital marketing professional, he specializes in search engine and social media marketing for B-to-C companies looking for lead generation and online optimization. He is also the co-race director for three Tampa Bay 5K events called The Great Mother’s Day Race, The Great Father’s Day Race, and The Great Gay 5K. The races have had over 12,000 participants and have raised over $7,000 for local charities since 2012. Previously, RJ was the marketing director for a world-wide market research firm, and has held management roles in verticals including healthcare, banking, and for-profit education. Helping local business succeed online is his daily passion, launching 5K events gives him joy, and contributing to the Pittsburgh business scene inspires him. RJ earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and Master of Arts from the University of South Florida, focusing on Strategic Communication Management. Currently, he sits on the American Marketing Association Board of Directors - Pittsburgh Chapter. He resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife Taylor, chocolate Lab Coco, and a Jack Russel Terrier named Rosie.