The War on Beards

I belong to the Marketers With Beards group on Facebook. Earlier this week one of the members noticed that another proudly bearded member’s newsletter featured an ad for Harry’s razors! Then I looked at my copy of our Today @ Target Marketing newsletter for that day, and saw this …

Andrew Luck tells Abigail, "That's how The Beard Wars began.
“Dearest Abigail, we have been besmirched by the pernicious propaganda of whiskerless marketers …” — Col. Andrew Luck

I belong to the Marketers With Beards group on Facebook. It’s something Lee Odden started a few years ago as an experiment in using Facebook groups, and it’s hung around ever since (apologies if the link doesn’t load, it’s a closed group).

Earlier this week, one of the members noticed that the Marketing Tech Blog e-newsletter, from proud marketer with a beard Douglas Karr, featured an ad for Harry’s razors!

“I was shocked this morning when I opened my email and in your newsletter I saw an ad for a RAZOR!!!! OMG … Have you joined the dark side? What’s going on, Doug? Tell me it’s not so.” —Chad Pollit, Relevance, marketer with a beard.

Then I looked at my copy of our Today @ Target Marketing newsletter for that day, and saw this!

Harry's Ad in Today @ Target Marketing
LiveIntent threaded a Harry’s razor ad into multiple newsletters and websites going to marketers with beards.

Come to think of it, I’d been seeing Harry’s ads all over Facebook and other websites. Were they targeted at members of the Marketers With Beards group? It was a cross-channel assault on beardedness!

Now, I noticed both of our e-newsletters carry ads powered by LiveIntent. So those are essentially network ads targeted at the individual e-newsletter recipients. When I see Harry’s, you might see Dot & Bo or Caribbean vacations — or, in an ideal world, something more marketing focused. (I’m sure Chad, Douglas and everyone else in the MWB is aware of that too.)

And of course, the Harry’s ads I’d been seeing all over were the same. I’m in a demographic Harry’s is targeting.

Beyond that, I have no idea how these ads are being aimed. I stumble around some websites that I could definitely see them targeting based on cookies. But I’m also in this Marketers With Beards group on Facebook.

In reality, Harry’s is probably advertising to a bunch of attributes in different model combinations and just keeps catching me, and the other Marketers With Beards, in those personas.

But it’s really easy when you’re seeing those ads incoming to draw other conclusions. “Hey, we’re all part of the Marketers With Beards group, Harry’s is taking a shot at us and telling us to shave! Arrrrrghhh!”

Rollo from Vikings w/ Axe
“Bring me my axe!”

We’ve seen a few examples of this kind of advertising being received poorly. Remember Denny Hatch’s “ Is Chasing Me All Over the Internet!” and “Son of Is Chasing Me Around Europe!“?

in fact, while I was searching up those articles, I saw this:

Harry's razor ad on
“Resistance is futile. You will be depilated.”

This is another example of how marketing is different today than it was 10 or 20 years ago. When 90s folks saw your advertising plastered across TV, radio and print ads, they may have gotten annoyed, but they didn’t take it personally.

Today, with all the targeted — but still saturating —  advertising options, prospects take that annoyance personally. Because it IS personal — you did aim those ads at them, after all.

And it’s really easy for a prospect in your target lock, even a savvy marketing prospect, to interpret that extra attention with a tinfoil hat.

Keep that in mind when you’re setting up your digital campaigns. Make an impression, just don’t make the wrong one.