It’s almost impossible to ignore the fact that we are living in the golden age of assholes. From political leaders, influencers, and brands, being a douchebag has its perks.
Some brands can get away with murder, while others need to apologize for every hiccup. Some get a slap on the wrist Aunt Jemima,” which is downright racist and was justly put down by Quaker Oats after 130 years of pitching the brand, quickly followed by “Mar’s” “Uncle Ben.”
I am talking about brands that draw a line and say, “we don’t care” to the overly woke, offended culture that has taken the joy out of everything in its path. Brands like “Virgin,” “Diesel,” “Harley Davidson,” “Uber,” “Pornhub”… These are all brands that frankly, my dear – don’t give a damn but have done incredibly well.
But where do you draw the line? Why is Pornhub’s “Bee Sexual” campaign acceptable, and the Washington Redskins’ team name not? (the team dropped their brand name entirely due to native American protest) Where do we draw the line? What about the Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Braves (with tomahawk), St. Louis Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish, New Zealand’s All Blacks… ? What is offensive? What is radical and cool?
It seems that brands that try to conform to political correctness can never win, while those that go their own way seem to triumph. Perhaps, standing for something also means standing out. Maybe some people will frown, but others will love you for it. For one, I would rather manage a brand that generates emotions like love or hate than work with a bland one.
An “in-your-face” brand? A hero? Whatever your brand character is, being bad is pretty good business. We live in an age when being an asshole is a virtue. What a time to be alive!