Don’t Read This Post

The headline made you want to see what this was all about, didn’t it? It is an interesting feature of human behavior that we are attracted to what we are told we cannot have, or shouldn’t want.

Tell someone not to think about elephants and all of a sudden, their brain is full of nothing but parading pachyderms.

It is pointed out in parenting literature that telling children what not to do is almost guaranteed to get them to do the prohibited thing. You say, “Don’t wipe your hands on your shirt,” and within seconds, they wipe. Maddening, but true.

This attraction to the unavailable is being used to interesting effect in a current advertising campaign for a brand of Brazilian rum. On the website, the company is looking for an official ruling from the US Government that their product is a distinct classification of liquor and not just another brand of rum. The product is already legal, it is already available – the producers just want to change the label.

However, the “Legalize Cachaca” message is being taken viral, with sidewalk graffiti, a letter writing campaign, and more. One can only imagine that seeing this message painted on the sidewalk would engender enough curiosity to inspire a visit to the website (possibly via a web-enabled device right there on the street).

What is this Cachaca and why isn’t it legal? Do I want it to be legal?

The mystery and the potential illegality make the product far more intriguing than a billboard with a beautiful Brazilian woman claiming that this is the best brand of Brazilian Rum. A point-by-point technical explanation of how Cachaca differs from rum would ultimately deliver the same message, but be so much less interesting.

It is a challenge to create the allure of the illicit for products that are not truly controversial. And for many products and companies this would clearly not be appropriate.

But bravo to those who find a way capitalize on our tendency to want what we cannot have.

20. September 2010 by Ruth Folger Weiss
Categories: Advertising, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment