4 Brands That Have Mastered The Tricky Art Of Trolling

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Trolling has taken over marketing as brands rile up fans and longtime rivals. Here are 4 that are (mostly) doing it right…

The generations that grew up scrolling social media and online forums appreciate a clever, or just silly, troll in their feed. One Urban Dictionary entry defines trolling as “trying to get a rise out of someone…either through wise-crackery, posting incorrect information, asking blatantly stupid questions, or other foolishness.” The act is no longer restricted to Reddit forums, and has become an inherent part of internet culture. Remember when the viral Instagram egg (which is still slowly cracking) paved its way to internet fame by trolling Kylie Jenner’s most-liked Instagram post with comments of egg emojis? Brands have not only caught on, but they’re perfecting the trend by putting big budgets behind their takedowns of rival brands and executing the action in larger-than-life ways that go beyond a screen.

A caveat: trolling is not a marketing tactic for the faint of heart. Crowdspring explains that controversial content goes viral by riling up the internet and can be misunderstood or ignored. The attempt could even backfire and incite more negativity than wanted if followers don’t realize that it’s all in good fun, and Campaign US questions if the strategy is even “worth the risk.”

But, when done right, a playful poke at a rival online can earn a brand the kind of buzz that takes them viral, cements them in the minds of young users, and rallies the entire internet around them. With that in mind, here are X companies that have (mostly) mastered the tricky art of trolling:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingWendy’s

Trolling has become a norm in the fast food industry, where savage social media tweets are fired off between rivals, sometimes spiraling into entire campaigns. Wendy’s dropped an…

 
 

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“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

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Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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