October 14th, 2016
By Brokaw Copywriter and avid clown hunter, Aaron McBride
A woman is pulling out of her driveway. She looks left. No cars. Then right. CLOWN!
A college student kicks a soccer ball into the woods. He goes to retrieve it. CLOWN!
A teenager attends an Insane Clown Posse show. He looks on stage. CLOWNS!
Ok, this is bananas. Clowns are everywhere. Which is bad if you’re coulrophobic. But even worse if you’re a real clown. See, thanks to these bored “indoor kids,” the real clown “business” is experiencing a dry spell that not even a water-squirting lapel flower can help. In fact, people are now actually “hunting” clowns—which is a terrifying scenario if you’re wearing a bright, oversized jumpsuit, super floppy shoes, and have an ultra small car. And all of this madness leads to two important questions:
- Is the world ending?
- What do I do if my brand gets clowned?
Because it happens: brands become collateral damage in cultural movements all the time. Most recently, Skittles and Tic Tac Mints were clowned by “The Donald” and “The Donald Jr.”—forcing the companies to quickly release statements to save their sweet reps.
So, back to the question…what do you do if your brand gets clowned? Well, you can:
- Ignore it like a weird rash and hope it goes away.
- Respond with a profound statement that completely disavows the “clowning”—à la the Wrigley Company for Skittles.
- Be like Arby’s and own the “clowning” like a GD boss. (Thanks for the free ads, Jon Stewart!)
But until it happens, there’s no way to prevent it. The ONLY thing you can do is “clown” yourself like Taco Bell did with its series of local Super Bowl ads. It won’t make you “clown-proof,” but being known as a brand with a sense of humor is a nice place to start. As for the real clowns, the only advice we have is to lie low, turn out the lights, and try not to honk anything until this blows over. (Right, Ronald?) It’s only a matter of time before these kids get bored and move onto creepy ventriloquists or mimes.
– Those friendly clowns at Brokaw. (Yes, including Favorite Brother.)