The Real World Webinar – Episode 1: Unpopular Opinions

The Real World is a new webinar series from Creative Race where we explore a wide range of topics to see how people really think, feel, and behave; challenging received wisdom and assumptions based only on personal experience.

As a strategy-first agency, we know that only by understanding what really drives people can brands communicate with their audience in a way that grabs their attention and makes them interested in what they have to say.

Episode 1 covered Unpopular Opinions. These are the truths or points of view connected to a category or aspect of life that aren’t often talked about by brands or within wider culture. We made the case for taking the path less trodden and doing what the competition is not by tapping into these unspoken truths to create highly distinctive and effective campaigns.

Showing empathy and being distinctive is critical for brands

Often brands portray an idealised version of life. Car ads show good looking people driving on traffic free roads. Holiday brands portray perfect carefree families enjoying trips that never feature delays or sunburn. Babies are show as easy to look after, so long as you buy the right brand of nappy.

Of course, everyone knows that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in adverts or on social media. Life is messy and things often don’t go to plan. Many people though, feel pressure to try to emulate the perfection they see on social media and in marketing campaigns.

It’s good to be inspirational, but in doing so there is the risk that rather than communicating something that people can relate to, brands are just projecting their own view of the world and can contribute to the pressure to be “winning at life“ that people feel.

What’s more important than being inspirational is for brands to demonstrate empathy with their audience. If you can show people that you understand them, that you know what life is really like, and are going to offer something that solves their problems then you will be onto a winner.

If you want your brand to demonstrate empathy with its audience and stand out from the crowd (which of course you do!), starting with an unpopular opinion could be your key to success.

How brands have used Unpopular Opinions to create distinctive and effective campaigns

Here are 5 great examples of categories and moments in life where brands have challenged the usual narrative by tapping into an unpopular opinion to create stand out campaigns. The result is campaigns with real impact.

  1. Parenthood
  2. According to most brands: Parenting is easy, so long as you use their products.
    The Unpopular Opinion: Half of parents feel they are failing in the first year.
    The campaign that tapped in this: #thisisparenthood by Water Wipes
    Why it works: The campaign tells an authentic story that parents of young children can identify with.

  3. House buying
  4. According to most brands: Buying a house or getting a mortgage is easy, simple, and always goes smoothly.
    The Unpopular Opinion: Taking out a mortgage is an admin nightmare and half of people don’t trust banks.
    The campaign that tapped in this: Hell or Habito by Habito
    Why it works: The creative execution is highly distinctive and challenges expectations for how a financial services brand can communicate.

  5. DIY
  6. According to most brands: DIY is purely functional so needs to be got out of the way as quickly as possible, and it must be done perfectly!
    The Unpopular Opinion: Most people get real satisfaction from fixing things around the house, and changing your home changes your life.
    The campaign that tapped in this: Build a Life by B&Q.
    Why it works: The campaign evokes true emotion and gives people permission to get things wrong, so inviting people to have a go.

  7. Feeding healthy food to children
  8. According to most brands: To get kids to eat veg you must make it more appealing to them, or make it cool to eat healthily.
    The Unpopular Opinion: Parents are OK with lying to their kids if they feel it’s for their own good. They even enjoy getting one over their children.
    The campaign that tapped in this: You Just Ate Vegetables by Wholly Veggie
    Why it works: It takes the side of parents, who are the decision makers about meals and the ones who buy food.

  9. Christmas
  10. According to most brands: Christmas is a time of pure joy and magic
    The Unpopular Opinion: Christmas can be a time of stress and anxiety. People worry about paying for Christmas and feel social pressure to have a good time and host guests. Having guests can make people can feel embarrassed about the décor in their home.
    The campaign that tapped in this: Silence the Critics by Ikea
    Why it works: Highlights a negative feeling in an entertaining way and provides a positive resolution.

Finding an Unpopular Opinion for your band to tap into

To find you own unpopular opinion there are two great ways to get started:

  • Examine the truisms that are connected to your category or the occasions or experiences you want to insert your brand into. What is the prevailing narrative in culture generally, and marketing communications. Is it possible to take the opposite point of view or stance?
  • Uncover what people say when they feel free to tell the truth. Anonymous forums like Mumsnet are a great place to find out what people really think. Another great option is to look at the search terms that grow around different events using Google trends.

If you’d like to talk about using an unpopular opinion to fuel growth for your brand, please get in touch.