Benchmark Success: Hit by the Onion



The Onion Your audience can laugh with you. Or at you. Today’s dual case study has the wife of Your Business Blogger and her employer, the Family Research Council as the subject of both. And a little about me.

First, the gentle, genteel example:

The Onion, published Critics Blast Bush For Not Praying Hard Enough, quoting FRC’s Bob Jensen.


George W. BushThe story reveals that:

“Every time the president is criticized, he insists that the nation is in his prayers,” said the Family Research Council’s Bob Jensen. “That may be, but it’s becoming more and more clear that these prayers are either too infrequent, too brief, or not strongly worded enough to be effective.”

There is, of course, no Bob Jensen at FRC. But Charmaine should take credit for the media hit.

(Media hit is a good thing. Mafia hit is a bad thing.) (Sometimes hard to tell the difference.)

And so the second example

is somewhat more brutal.

Marketing expert Seth Godin explains.


Seth Godin’s

Purple CowIn his bestseller, Purple Cow, Seth says that your marketing campaign must stand out from the herd of common “brown cows” to be noticed.

A “Purple Cow” would be eye-catching.

Today’s products and services must “be different, remarkable, extraordinary, exciting…challenging” to standout. To succeed.

So how would you know if you got it right?

Seth reminds us that:

For decades, mass marketing through television worked wonders and it sold billions of dollars worth of products. It even worked for the internet…for awhile.

But no longer. Seth, once the President of Direct Marketing for Yahoo, gives a number of benchmarks for success today. One that caught my attention was parody.

An advertising and marketing program might be labeled a success when it is cited as comedy or satire. If Saturday Night Live makes fun of your brand — you’ve got a winner. Seth writes:

If you can show up in a parody, it means you’ve got something unique, something worth poking fun at.

It means there’s a Purple Cow at work.

By this parody definition, Your Business Blogger and wife have become a “success.” We got hit by Tbogg last year.

Quite an honor. I think.

Tbogg, was the winner of the 2003 Koufax Most Humorous Award for left/liberal blogs. He gets 12,762 visits daily. (And to his credit he unmasks his sitemeter.)

A link from Tbogg is almost as good as an insta-launch from Glenn Reynolds in the blogosphere.

The anonymous Tbogg described one of my posts as paste-eating stupid and Charmaine as a fat drunken cow. Funny.

It’d be funnier if Tbogg called her a purple fat cow. Maybe. Not.

Later, Tbogg criticises Charmaine’s spelling. For comparison, Michelle Malkin is merely a crazy-a** bi*ch.

Parody, as I think Seth would correctly describe, is a bit different from being the butt of a joke.

But it sure feels the same. In any event, Seth is right: Sales and marketing and advertising these days requires being a Purple Cow, with a thick hide.

The Onion does parody right. Tbogg does not.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

Warning: Onion has explicit language. Tbogg has explicit language. Dick Cheney has explicit language.

Seth’s Blog has more with his book, The Big Moo. Good reviews from readers. I will be joining fellow Seth supporters and reviewing also. (Even though Seth is not a Bush supporter. And prays to no god I know.)

Charmaine Crouse Yoest, Ph.D., is Vice President for External Affairs at Family Research Council. She serves as the Executive Producer of FRC’s weekly and daily radio programs, Washington Watch Weekly and Washington Watch Minute, and oversees all aspects of FRC’s online and new media communications. Including the FRCBlog.

Charmaine also blogs at Reasoned Audacity.

Washington Post has more on Bush.

This is an update from 24 October 2005.

Basil’s Blog has a picnic and good reads. Learn who got married.


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