Today is April 1, a day long associated with tomfoolery and surprises. Here at MarketingProfs, we prefer surprises that delight, so we've arranged a delightful change of pace for this week's episode: One of the podcast's most popular interviewees takes the helm as host for the day, and bumps Kerry O'Shea Gorgone over to the guest chair.

Listen to it later:

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They'll talk about marketing that surprises (if not always delights) and bold brands that are taking chances on edgy marketing campaigns.

Here are just a few highlights of their delightful discussion:

If your brand has a fiercely loyal following, you have some leeway to manipulate people and tick them off (09:35): "From a marketing perspective, [the Game of Thrones Three Eyed Raven campaign] seems like a pretty successful campaign, because, they got people talking. Maybe they were sort of angry about it, but at the same time it definitely incited some emotion, which in some sense, because it is anxiety and anger and all this stuff, it almost does align with the bigger Game of Thrones brand experience, the experience of the show itself. It's certainly different, and it's definitely surprising."

Keep surprises happy: Don't force people to have uncomfortable conversations they're not ready for (12:58): "Starbucks...just stopped their 'Race Together' campaign. They were urging all their Starbucks baristas to write 'race together' on the coffee cups they gave to patrons in an effort to promote conversations about race relations. It was surprising, and most people were not delighted about it.... I can't imagine anybody who hasn't had their coffee yet [who] wants to have that conversation.... It was a brand mismatch, too. When I think about Starbucks, the idea about igniting a conversation around race relations doesn't come top of mind to me... It just seemed like a colossal mismatch."

Creative content not related specifically to your industry can delight a B2B audience (16:56): "I love what Basecamp is doing.... It's surprising because it's not really marketing, or maybe it is. That's the thing. It's sort of in this gray area. Just about a year ago, Basecamp, which is a project management software company (we use it here at MarketingProfs to manage our projects), launched this little monthly online magazine called The Distance. They hired an actual journalist, a former reporter/writer for the Chicago Tribune, to produce one long-form illustrated story a month. And what she wrote about is a company that's been in business for 25 years or longer and has thrived without any...outside investment of any kind. They do not feature Basecamp prospects, they don't feature Basecamp customers, and they don't feature technology businesses, which are the kinds of businesses that would be more inclined to use a project management software like Basecamp. It's interesting to me, because they are essentially heralding companies who are not customers and probably are not prospects, either. And many of the businesses that they're talking about are kind of quirky...really analog companies.... From a content perspective, it's something very different than you see other companies doing.... It doesn't feel like marketing."

People today find honesty a pleasant surprise (26:12): "One of my favorite stories, a tiny little chihuahua named 'Eddie the Terrible' was marketed by the Humane Society of Silicon Valley last December. They wanted him to have a home for the holidays.... You know, when you see humane society commercials on TV, like a PSA or something like that, there's always this sort of Sarah McLachlan soundtrack to it. It always makes you feel bad and sad and guilty all at once that you aren't adopting a dozen dogs or so (at least that's what it does for me).... That kind of vibe is the general tenor of a lot of shelter marketing out there. What I loved about what the Humane Society of Silicon Valley did is that they turned that on its head. Instead, they described this dog as 'Eddie the Terrible,' they did a video, they did a whole visual campaign about him and showed what a horrible dog he is. They described him as a 'pint-sized demon,' a 'tiny tornado of a dog.' He became a viral sensation...because of the approach that they took.... I loved that they were blatantly honest in the marketing of...this dog.... The whole marketing notion behind it was here's why you DON'T want to adopt Eddie the Terrible.... It was just so refreshingly honest. They were like, 'This dog was kind of a jerk, but he could be a good fit for you.'"

To learn more about Marketing Smarts host Kerry O'Shea Gorgone, check out, or follow Kerry on Twitter: @KerryGorgone.

Our special guest host and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

This episode brought to you by CallidusCloud.


Special thanks to production sponsor Candidio, an efficient, affordable video production platform allowing marketers and communicators to collaborate and curate video content, with help from a team of professional, on-demand video editors for the finishing touches. Check them out!

Show opener music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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