marketing minute

Marketing Minute: Unmarketing

Advertising and marketing is so prevalent and takes so many different forms and faces that sometimes it’s easy to forget that some of the biggest companies do no advertising. The list of brands that haven’t invested in traditional advertising include some of the most well-known brands around, Krispy Kreme, Spanx and Whole Foods are some of the bigger names. But take for example, everyone’s new favorite hot sauce: Sriracha.  With no traditional advertising the fiery sauce has managed to inspire an entire Food Festival dedicated to it. It’s popularity due to word of mouth and social media. So why isn’t every company doing this type of [un]marketing?


The reason is because this act of “doing nothing” takes a lot of work. It’s easier to conceptualize a tangible advertising campaign. This ability to perpetuate and maintain a brand’s popularity without traditional advertising is a new field that is still growing and hasn’t been as obviously defined.

Take Sriracha for example, it’s hard to escape this hot sauce lately. Everyone from Subway to Lays have introduced their version of Sriracha-flavored items. Sure, this is advertising. But it didn’t come directly from Sriracha. The brand has created a movement, a legion of followers. Why? My theory is that although Sriracha is no longer a secret, it’s still not so mainstream. It feels special to know about it, at least it the beginning. Everyone want’s to feel like they’re the first to like the cool thing. Sriracha didn’t have to work too hard to get your attention, they didn’t need advertising.

Even successful advertising runs the risk of oversaturing and tiring their customer. So why invest in advertising that  has your customers on the street doing the leg work. It takes more creativity and more ingenuity.  Your job is to get potential customers to think it was their idea to promote your brand by word of mouth instead of the result of your professional craftiness.