Cursing, cussing, swearing, profanity ... No matter what you call it, the good old four-letter colloquialism leaves an impression. But when is that impression good, and when is it bad? Target Marketing tries to answer that question.

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  • bobscheier

    Call me an old fogy, but I’ll stubborn proclaim any public swearing shows the brand does not understand me or share my values. It broadcasts that the marketers are so unsure of their message, or their ability to convey it, they need to resort to “shock” value to get my attention. It tells me the company doesn’t take its customers or business very seriously.

    I could go on but you get the idea. Am I just old, or old fashioned?

    • Tony The Pitiful Copywriter

      Whoever’s first to make swearing work with their intended audience, perhaps in a viral way, is going to be hailed a marketing genius, amiright? Until then, there will be fear and doubt among creatives. If the cussin’ offends you, maybe that brand or service doesn’t consider you a (hard) core customer?

      • Thorin McGee

        Didn’t Franks Red Hot already win that race? I put that Sh__ on everything.

    • Thorin McGee

      I think cursing is good for authenticity when it’s authentic. But in many cases it’s not, it’s just out of place. You have to know where you stand before you do it.

      • Jeanette Maw McMurtry

        ummm….hope my posts have not inspired you to write on this topic? 🙂

  • Tony The Pitiful Copywriter

    Good video. Context and knowing your audience is a big effing deal in my book. Or iPad.

  • I am considering adding swearing to my marketing. Certainly Millennials will respond positively. Perhaps that is all I care about. Get them while they are young. A competitor, Brian Barwig, swears, he’s a little younger than me. But when I saw him write “fuck” in a blog post I liked it and told him so. I immediately wanted to copy him. However, still on the fence. Thanks for the video. I needed to see it.

    • Thorin McGee

      It does get attention, and I think to certain age ranges it says that you’re not going to bullshit them. (Of course, that makes it an easy shortcut to bullshit them. Use that knowledge only for awesome.)

    • Well, shit. Glad you liked it 😉

      I didn’t know we were competitors Jennifer…

  • “Look at me, look at me! I’m badass! I swear.” Yawn. Are we really still talking about this? Either do it or don’t. No one cares.

    • VODi

      Yes. see ‘Harvard rescinds acceptances to 10 previously accepted’ in NYT and Harvard Crimson. I just don’t think it’s necessary or really gets you much in the LONG TERM. You can get close enough without actually swearing which shows plenty: both passionate feelings and sensitivity to the common good.

  • Peter Rosenwald

    Swearing is unacceptable if you are swearing at me, Thorin but perfectly OK if I’m swearing at you. It’s simple!

    • Thorin McGee

      Explains the reactions we got to that “Here’s Your Deal you Cheap bastard” subject line…

      • Peter Rosenwald

        Perhaps it does. When I was at prep school, I inadvertently and I thought, under my breath, called a master a son of a bitch. Minutes later I found myself sitting opposite the headmaster, expecting to be kicked out of the school.

        Not so. I received a brilliant and unforgettable semantics lecture on the fact that this master might be a ‘bastard’ but it was biologically impossible for him to be a son of a bitch: that usage only indicated that I had limited knowledge and vocabulary.

        The headmaster’s final words on the subject: “There are no synonyms in the English language.”

        • Thorin McGee

          That’s a good headmaster “talking-to.” And it stuck with you more than just about any other thing he could have done.

          • Peter Rosenwald

            But despite that, I do use an expletive from time to time (really, frequently).