You may have heard it before, but what does "Awkward is the new cool" mean? Well, thanks to internet memes people have discovered that it is easy to get a quick laugh in their everyday social networking by posting something awkward. More than that, it is that awkwardness is becoming a socially acceptable condition that can be celebrated in the safe confines of social networking.
It isn't just social networking that has picked up on this zeitgeist. Several big time Madison avenue ad campaigns depend on these awkward characters in commercials. One example is the GEICO lizard, who routinely finds himself in awkward situations while trying to explain how much people could save on car insurance. This goes double for the Allstate "Mayhem" character, whose modus operandi is to put others in the awkward situation often at the expense of his own physical well being.
It doesn't just work to sell insurance, either. M&M's uses a pair of awkward talking M&M characters to sell their product these days. If you watch the Super Bowl, you are sure to see a GoDaddy.com commercial with Danica Patrick that relies more on her awkwardness than her sex appeal. In fact, the entire Super Bowl lineup this year seems to have tossed aside sex appeal in favor of the socially awkward.
Even popular television shows are not above using awkwardness to sell their shows. The best example is The Soup On E! which thrives solely on the awkward to the point of using hashtags during the show to promote them. Some of the most popular shows on television thrive on main characters that define awkwardness. Sherlock from the U.K. is a great example of a socially awkward character, but even the U.S. has The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon and How I Met Your Mother's Ted Moseby. They have figured out that awkwardness equals ratings gold.
It seems that awkwardness is here to stay and that is good news for anybody starting a content marketing campaign. When you link your campaign with a recognizable character that manages to straddle this divide between the awkward and the endearing, you will find that you have a compelling marketing campaign that may just define your brand.
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By Lauralie L. Ezra