Love Them. Hate Them. Parodies Can Improve B2B Marketing

A company’s logo is a fundamental part of every brand. It represents their identity and makes them instantly recognizable. Most corporations spend millions tinkering with their logos, trying to figure out what will stick in the minds of customers. When a customer views one, it triggers all sorts of thoughts and emotions making some of them unforgettable. Unfortunately for brands, those aren’t always positive.

Parodies change and poke fun of what the original brand represented (and not always with explicit permission). How they do it though can be just the kind of positive/negative feedback you need in your B2B marketing campaign.

Positive Feedback

There are laws that allow the use of parodies as long as they fulfill their purpose: being a form of entertainment without deliberately targeting the original brand. Using the original brand means you have to ask for their permission in using a copyright protected name which also means a lot of money and a lot of politics.

So where’s the advantage here? For one, it’s actually a good way to advertise (such as in cases of knock-off brands in fiction representing their real-life counterparts).

Starbucks Coffee is a really good example. Its name has been spoofed in many graphic novels and comics (e.g. Starbooks, Moonbucks, Sudoh-Bucks). A recently closed parody store named Dumb Starbucks gained wide popularity due to its resemblance on how it looked so much like the original except with Dumb in everything, including the menu.

Negative Feedback

There will always be times when a product goes wrong. Customers will always come to you for complaints and you can bet that a good percentage of those complaints would be left unanswered. This will have some impact on your reputation so those with creative minds out there will try and make fun of the highlighted negative impression you’ve created.

Brands like Facebook (with Procrastination) and Myspace (with Nospace) can’t escape the clutches of this kind of criticism. Corporate brands have no immunity either. And why should they? These express real problems prospects and customers have with you and that kind of feedback should inspire change, not a legal counterattack.

Examples include this sarcastic rendition of the UPS logo (Oops) due to their reputation of delivering damaged goods. A second one would be Microsoft’s Windows (Will Work for a While) which reflects the attitude towards OS’ glitches and bugs appearing after every update.

Waging war in the courtroom can be a waste of time. It’s worse still when that time can be used to give a real business response if you consider it a form of feedback instead of corporate blasphemy.