Star Wars May the 5th

May the Fifth Be With You

Yesterday, we watched as hundreds of brands jumped on the#MayTheFourthBeWithYou Star Wars meme. They all wanted to trend jack the quirky holiday and use it to boost their social media numbers.

For me, all of this just made one thing that much clearer. I’ve said it manymany many times, but I’ll say it again: marketers ruin everything.

Let me back up.

In the past year or two, I’ve spoken at length to many different audiences on the topic of jumping on trends or riding the hashtag going the way of marketers ruining it. It’s headed in the same place that email open rates went: downhill. It’s the simple game of supply and demand that determines this. As jumping on trends becomes the norm, it gets harder and harder to bring the attention to your brand. Oreo did it during the Super Bowl years ago, and it caught people’s attention. But why? Because no one else was doing it. It was new. Different. It was worth writing about.

But yesterday was another blow to that marketing technique. And it was so obvious from the lackluster reactions that were generated from the brands’ attempts to jump on this. And here is the reason: what most brands and personalities are missing is that you have to make it contextual for you. Look, I get it. There are tons of clever copywriters out there that they can figure it out. You could theoretically take any trend and reverse engineer it back into your brand’s world. You really could. Maybe you’re a carpet cleaning company and you want to make some kind of joke about Chewbacca’s hair getting in the carpet. You can play that out if you really have to.

However, I think it is a much stronger strategy to take a step back, look at the entire 365 day calendar year, and understand the six or twelve unique days and memes that are dramatically more authentic to your day to day value proposition as a brand or a business.

Yesterday’s Star Wars holiday had so many brands jumping on the trend that it became almost as noisy as a major celebrated holiday. It was noisy. Why try to compete with all that noise? Why not look at the days your brand can own, and your brand only? Even better: why not make up your own day? Create the situation that allows you to dominate the dialogue.

This is the 2.0 version of “May the Fourth Be With You”. I hope that brands and marketers are listening and start moving in that direction.

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