The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

When We Put Our Heads Up Our Asses …

So this is hard for me because it not only involves an agency I like very much – Droga5 – but it also involves a number of personal friends.

So over the past few months, there’s been a campaign for Email marketing platform, MailChimp.

Not that you’d know it, because the campaign has been about creating seemingly random ads for things with names that kind-of sound like MailChimp but never actually say it.

Hence we’ve had all sorts of things like FailChips and SnailPrimps placed all around NYC.

And why?

Because when the brand sponsored the hit podcast ‘Serial’, someone in the promo mispronounced the brand as “MailKimp” and Droga5 thought that could be a fun way to advertise the brand.

That’s right, spend a shitload of cash doing a bunch of things that never actually mentions the brand name or relates to what the brand does.

This is how a Mailchimp exec explains it …

“We used mispronunciation as a creative device to inspire all kinds of different executions, knowing that people would be curious about what they were seeing and search for more information”.



Now I accept there is a good chance I might be wrong, but are people that curious?

Do people give a flying fuck about this sort of thing?

Maybe they do, which means I can’t help but wonder how they felt when they discovered what it was really all about.

Were they pissed off they’ve just been part of a marketing scam?

Or maybe they ended up being massively disappointed by what they discovered it all to be about.

Or did they go, “Wow, that’s amazing” and immediately sign up for their service, even if they didn’t need it.

I have a feeling it’s not that likely to be the last option.

Don’t get me wrong, I know people love to ‘discover’ stuff, but I’m not so sure that means they love discovering they’ve just been had.

All of this feels like the people behind the campaign either watched one too many bad spy movies or took Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘tipping point’ a tad too literally.

But it gets worse.

Much worse … because this ‘strategy’ of mispronouncing the brand name – according to the credits released with the campaign – required 7 strategists.


What did they do?

What is the bloody strategy in any of this?

I appreciate that sometimes the biggest insight is there isn’t one … but even then, you don’t need 7 strategists. Hell, even if you were doing a campaign to solve world hunger, you wouldn’t need seven strategists.


I love Droga5 and I massively respect my friends who were involved in this campaign, but this all smacks of early dotcom advertising and we know what happened to the majority of those brands.

Actually I’m wrong, because at least those ads focused on people remembering the name.

This isn’t advertising, it’s anti-advertising and while the industry might think that’s something cool and worthy of aspiring too, in the real World – or at least The Guardian – they know it’s a great advertisement for saying our industry has its head up it’s own ass.

31 Comments so far
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I live in NYC. I’m their target market. I work in advertising. Still didn’t know anything about this campaign. Maybe it would all make sense to me if I had a lisp or was dyslexic.

Comment by DH

the only target audience you fit in with it the fucking freaks. its the main reason i put up with you.

Comment by andy@cynic

To be fair Dave, you do the most socialising on this blog, so you’re not exactly their target market.

Comment by Rob

This is what happens when you put 7 strategists together.

Comment by DH

no fucking wonder most agencies only let 1 in the room if this is the fucking shit 7 do to campaigns.

Comment by andy@cynic

You made me read a limey newspaper.

Comment by Billy Whizz

you mean you looked at the fucking pictures.

Comment by andy@cynic

the modern version of the emperors new clothes brought to you by d5 and mailchimp. classic fucking move of a company when their ego gets too fucking big and a client gets too fucking star struck. i hope d5 pull it together. i like them. couldnt give a fuck about mailchimp. twats.

Comment by andy@cynic

Well said.

Comment by George

Yep … well said. [Who’d of thought!]

Comment by Rob

They needed 7 strategists to write all the award entries.

Comment by John

They would have had 8 but they realized there was no point to enter any effectiveness awards.

Comment by George

I wonder if this campaign would be as lauded by the advertising press if it didn’t come Droga5.

Comment by George

I can imagine the ridicule this campaign would have received if it had been done by FCB.

Comment by Pete

Look, Droga have done some incredibly interesting work in the past. I love the agency and the people and I passionately believe you have to try stuff to break new ground … but even their Jay Z/Bing stuff was very clear on the brands involved, which is why I feel there is more to this campaign than meets the eye. I’m just missing it.

Comment by Rob

Advertising that solves an advertisng problem at the expense of the business one.

Comment by John

Was it even an advertising problem?

Comment by Pete

I meant an agency problem rather than a channel one.

Comment by John

Contender for worst insight ever claimed.

Comment by Pete

“Andre Finamore Amaral, AB InBev Marketing Manager, said: “In today’s madness, the ability to be light-hearted is the most important trait in the world. Our campaign taps into this insight and intends to help consumers fall in love with beer again by showing them what it means
to be Bud Light. We’ve been popping up unexpectedly over the last few months, but the tease is now over – it’s time to paint the UK blue and show Brits how to keep it Bud Light.”

Comment by John

Sorry, this ‘insight’ from 2008 still wins for me.

But Droga have given it a good run for its money.

Comment by Rob

A WK case to use fake-ish products/websites to promote its campaign message (as mentioned in the article, If they are intrigued enough to check them out, they’ll eventually get an “Internetervention,” a message from Mustafa mocking them at length for their interest.)

Comment by Kurt

Obviously I can’t answer this without looking massively corporate toady … but what I will say is that at least the fake ads for Old Spice were so obviously fake that it was less ‘fool the customer’ and more have some fun.

And if you don’t accept that response – which to be fair, isn’t that compelling – we can always go with ‘Droga5 copied Wieden+Kennedy’ instead?

For the record, that is a joke. A great big (bad) joke. I know some of the guys there and they would rather kill themselves than do something done before.

Comment by Rob

Now there’s a headline Robert.

Comment by George

Now that sounds like a headline for The Onion – America’s Finest News Source 🙂

Comment by Kurt

Some would say it takes a brave client to sign off on a campaign like this. I would use a different definition.

Comment by Lee Hill

“Brave” in the “Yes Minister” sense?

Comment by Ian Gee


Comment by Ian Gee

I got caught out by the fake “VICE News” posts about the MaleCrimp that’s apparently the new trend in fashion. Stupidly clicked the story without seeing the “SPONSORED POST” cause I was about ready to lay into some fucker who thinks a male crimp is a good idea.

Scrolled through the story only to see MailChimp at the bottom. Felt like a right idiot and couldn’t give a fuck anymore.

For a brief second I thought “ooh, smart”, but then I got pissed off with Vice and MailChimp for making me think the male crimp shit was real.

So, in conclusion—I’m annoyed.

Comment by Riaad

I recently was reminded that some people come on this blog for the first time and don’t realize so much of the commentary is banter. They read it as fact. OK, there is fact in their from time-to-time but most of the time I think it’s safe to say it’s a bunch of old friends, colleagues and clients taking the piss out of one another.

But here’s the thing. Like any group, when someone from the outside comes in they may misread the dynamics of what’s going on and it has come to my attention that has happened. Normally that wouldn’t bother me but this person feels there’s a lot of commentary that directly challenges their own professional integrity. I don’t want that to be the case because they’re very talented so let me be absolutely clear.

While I am not a fan of the campaign, I absolutely do not in any way think it was been influenced or inspired or copied from anywhere or anyone else.

Droga – as I have written over and over again on this blog – are a phenomenal agency. There are many reasons for that but a large part is because of their peoples talent and integrity. The comments on this thread that imply otherwise were a joke – banter – and while I would hope that was obvious, I am writing this to make sure no one comes on here again and misinterprets it.

Comment by Rob

WTF? Who takes anything written on here seriously.

Comment by DH

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