Facebook Ad As Publicity Stunt?

Red Bull has Felix Baumgartner and his 24-mile high, speed-of-sound sky dive, but Beta Brand has Fauxfu, the first “Vegetarian-Friendly Meat”:


Two things I love about this ad:

1)  The picture makes use of “non-existent functionality” by showing a play button over a static image.


Even though this technically violates Facebook’s ad guidelines, it’s something I’ve previously recommended in this column for any ad that does, in fact, link to a video.


2)  You basically can’t not-click on something called Vegetarian-Friendly meat, and the ad writers were smart enough to make that claim the headline. Seriously.


But as you may have guessed, the product — ostensibly beef and pork that has been processed to look like tofu so meat eaters can chow down unjudged among their vegan buddies — is nothing more than a humorous hoax.


Beta Brand — the same guys that have brought us the dress pants made from sweat-pants fabric and the Wall-street-ready Pinstripe Hoodie — created this publicity stunt simply to grab Facebook user’s attention, get a laugh from them, and hopefully inspire them to click-through to Beta Brand’s equally humorous products.


Now, from a Direct Marketing perspective, this is sort of a waste. I’m sure the conversion rates on people actually buying a pair of Dress Pants Sweatpants after watching the Fauxfu video are astonishingly low. Though I bet it’s still higher than the number of people going out to buy a Red Bull Energy Drink immediately after watching Felix Baumgartner’s sky dive…


But from a brand awareness perspective, this is actually pretty smart. People who buy Beta Brand’s stuff enjoy a good gag. In other words, they are exactly the kind of people who would click through just to see what the heck Vegetarian-Friendly meat is, and who would truly appreciate the gag.


So who better to make aware of your product?  And the cost-per-click is probably astonishingly low, when compared to CPM for more traditional advertisements.


Sure, they may not convert to added sales today, but I’m betting the ads will more than pay for themselves in future gag-gift purchases this coming Christmas.


The number one rule of advertising and marketing is don’t be boring. The number one rule of Social Media is pretty much the same thing — be interesting, friendly, and helpful.  Beta Brand has managed to navigate both rules brilliantly.


May not be the best strategy for you, but it also might be just the ticket, and is certainly worth thinking about…